2010 Debut Author Challenge

Monday November 30, 2009

I can't believe that 2009 is almost over...wow, this year went by so fast! With the end of the year comes the anticipation of all the new books to be published next year in the Young Adult genre. This year's 2010 Debut Author Challenge is hosted by The Story Siren!

I am going to commit to read 25 of the many, many books debuting in 2010. You can find the list of the books that have been listed as debuting so far (more will be added as the year goes on) HERE. So...here is what I have so far towards the 25 books that I plan on reading!

Dia Reeves (Bleeding Violet)
Anastasia Hopcus (Shadow Hills)
Jeri Smith-Ready (Shade)
Julie Kagawa (Iron King)
Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall)
Jen Nadol (The Mark)
Kelly Creagh (Nevermore)
Amy Brecount White (Forget-Her-Nots)
Angie Frazier (Everlasting)
Alexandra Diaz (Of All the Stupid Things)
Judith Graves (Under My Skin)
Olugbemisola Rhuday Perkovich (Eighth-Grade Superzero)
Leah Cypess (Mistwood)
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder)
Jennifer Murgia (Angel Star)

Bree Despain (The Dark Divine)
Ryan Potter (Exit Strategy)
Kat Falls (Dark Life)

Rachel Ward (Numbers)
Jandy Nelson (The Sky is Everywhere)
Andrea Cremer (Nightshade)

Okay, this is what I'll commit to so far...I will add to the list as more author's are announced! The one's marked in bold are books that I already have ARC's for! Nothing like a fun challenge to start off the year!

If you'd like to participate in the challenge go here: 2010 Debut Author Challenge

In My Mailbox (23)

Sunday November 29, 2009

In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren is a way to share what you new books get each week. So, the following books are all ARCs I received in the mail this week for review or bought :o)

Click on the book if you want to read more about it on GoodReads!

For Review:

Books I bought to torture myself (I have a few review books to read before I can read them!)

Waiting on Wednesday (13)

Wednesday November 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday...books I can't wait to read hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Angel Star

by Jennifer Murgia
Available May 2010
Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand-the mark of an angel.
But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel's malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows.

Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel's sacrifice collides with another angel's vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower.

Hmmm....are Angels the new vampire? It seems there has been a lot of books popping up with the plot centered around Angels good and evil.

Hey, sounds good to me!

Tween Tuesdays (4)

Tuesday November 24, 2009

Tween Tuesday is a meme I first saw at Green Bean Teen Queen and really liked because she is also a librarian who deals with teens and tweens. So, since most of my blog is devoted to YA and teen books I figured that on Tuesdays I can do posts for all the tweeners out there!

The Real Spy's Guide to Becoming a Spy
by Peter Earnest with Suzanne Harper
In association with the International Spy Museum

Created by the founding executive director of the International Spy Museum, who is also a former operative in the CIA’s Clandestine Service, this is the official handbook for kids who dream of one day becoming a spy or working in the intelligence field. Have you ever wondered what spies really do. What kind of training is involved? Do you have to go to a special school or take a polygraph test? How do you live your “cover”? How does your work life affect your relationships with your friends and family? Is there danger involved? This fascinating, fact-filled book answers these questions and more while providing a historical timeline, definitions of key terms, suggestions for further reading, an index, quizzes, and exercises to see if you have the right spy stuff.

This is one of those very colorful glossy books that kids will definitely be drawn too. Not to mention the topic itself! Various book series and of course movies make the spy business look glamorous and exciting.

I like the fact that the book starts out by eliminating the preconcieved notions that being a spy is all James Bond and cute girls. The first chapter talks about this and also gives an extensive yet concise history of spies going back to 1800 BC.

Various chapters describe why countries have spies, what exactly a spy is and what they do. I also like the fact that the book gives a fairly realistic (considering the audience here) of what it takes to be a spy including grades, topics of study and education levels. Sometimes kids have misconceptions about jobs and I can see them thinking that if they just join the military and sign up to be a spy they are good to go! Not true!

The book goes on to describe a spies training , practicing your spying skills (games for building memory skills and also practicing interview techniques) and the future of spying.

There is also a great appendix with links to various other sources of information as well as an extensive list of agencies that have "spy-like" jobs.

I think this a great book for libraries and kids who want to learn more about spies. It could use a few more color pictures and/or illustrations but overall it is a really great book!

Upcoming Movie Release - The Lovely Bones

Monday November 23, 2009

The Lovely Bones Movie
Release Date December 11, 2009

I am so excited for this movie! The book was so great and in the hands of Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings Trilogy) I'm sure the movie will be almost as good!

With the preview of the movie being shown at theaters right now for kids who are there to see New Moon, I've had a lot of kids start requesting the book. My standard answer has been that it is not really middle school appropriate but they should discuss it with their parents if it's something they really want to read.

I read it a LONG time ago when it first came out but I do remember it being somewhat violent and scary!

Anyway here is the book summary and if you haven't read it yet, you should!

Once in a generation a novel comes along that taps a vein of universal human experience, resonating with readers of all ages.

The Lovely Bones
is such a book - a phenomenal #1 bestseller celebrated at once for its narrative artistry, its luminous clarity of emotion, and its admonishing power to lay claim to the hearts of millions of readers around the world.

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her - her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling.

Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss,
The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy.

Check out the movie trailer and movie website! If the trailer doesn't make you want to see the movie....www.LovelyBones.com

Book Review - Love Under Cover by Jessica Brody

Friday November 20, 2009

Love Under Cover
by Jessica Brody
Available Now
Can a former fidelity inspector tear herself away from her old calling for the sake of the perfect guy, or is the temptation to conduct love under cover just too strong?

Jennifer Hunter never saw herself as the relationship type. After all, she’d spent the last two years of her life as an undercover fidelity inspector, hired to test men’s faithfulness—not exactly the kind of job that lends itself to intimacy. But when Jamie Richards walked into her life, everything changed, and Jennifer vowed to trade in her undercover lifestyle for something more normal. That’s why she formed the Hawthorne Agency: five full-time fidelity inspectors, hired to carry out Jennifer’s mission while she manages the process from a safe (relationship-saving) distance.

Jen's business is booming, and just when it seems like things can’t possibly get any better, Jamie proposes. Despite her lifelong issues with trust and commitment, Jen says yes. But can a woman who’s seen nothing but failed marriages ever come to terms with tying the knot herself? And when Jen receives a frantic phone call from one of her employees in trouble, she’s forced to make a choice. A choice that lands her in an all-too familiar place—a strange hotel room, kissing another man. And she knows that nothing will be the same.

I didn't have a chance to read the first book but I was really curious check out this book when I heard about it. With such a timely topic (I mean they have reality TV shows based on this premise!) I figured it had to be pretty interesting. I wasn't wrong, Love Under Cover is genuine chick-lit fun!

To me Jen symbolizes a whole generation of kids who will have issues with commitment and fidelity. With the rate of divorce these days and the percentage of people who cheat on their spouses I imagine fidelity inspectors will be a booming job market.

Her job, her new finance and her relationship with her womanizing father make Jen's life a little more complicated than she would like. Throw in commando Barbie wedding planner and things really get crazy!

If you are looking for a fun, well written read that will hook you from the very first page you've found it here! Pick it up for the winter holidays, cuddle up, read and enjoy!

Craft Book Review

Thursday November 18, 2009

Stitched Jewels: Jewelry That's Sewn, Stuffed, Gathered & Frayed

By Marthe Le Van
Available Now!
Book summary: From our beloved baby “blankie” to the cozy sweater that warms us, fabric touches us at every stage of life. So it’s no surprise that today’s crafters love to work with it...and that we love to accessorize with it. Stitched Jewels presents 25 exquisite projects incorporating cloth, textiles, and other materials, all created by top designers. Because the craft involves such a wonderfully wide selection of techniques, these artists can all show off their diverse backgrounds: Ellen Gerritse constructs an ornate leaf neckpiece from bright mesh swatches; Deborah Boschert layers circles of cotton and fuses them over a leather cord; and Bethany Fields shows off her theatrical training in a dramatic black and white gingham bracelet. They’re unique, beautiful, and fun to make.

I don't know about you but I LOVE fabric. Just something about it...I can go to the fabric store and buy yards and yards of fabric without any real plans for it...it's pretty and I know I'll use it SOME day! So I was super excited to find a book that incorporated fabric into jewelry...yay!

You don't have to get your fabric at the fabric store either, most of the projects use such a small amount of fabric that you could buy fabric scraps at garage and estate sales!

The book includes some basic sewing principals and stitches as well as the basics in beginning jewelry making. There are plenty of pictures to go along with the how-to's which is always nice!

The projects range from very basic and simple (with only a couple of steps) to the somewhat more elaborate. There is really nothing super complicated here and I would say that most beginners would have few problems with any of the projects.

As with any craft book you probably won't love every project in the book, but each of the projects gave me ideas for techniques that I could use on other projects.

Overall I really liked this book, 25 projects that include bracelets, earrings, necklaces and brooches.

Waiting on Wednesday (12)

Wednesday November 18, 2009

The Beautiful Between
by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Available May 11, 2010
If high school were a fairy-tale kingdom, Connelly Sternin would be Rapunzel, locked not in a tower by a wicked witch but in a high-rise apartment building by the SATs and college applications—and by the secrets she keeps. Connelly's few friends think that her parents are divorced—but they're not. Connelly's father died when she was two, and she doesn't know how.

If Connelly is the Rapunzel of her school, Jeremy Cole is the crown prince, son of a great and rich New York City family. So when he sits down next to her at lunch one day, Connelly couldn't be more surprised. But Jeremy has a tragic secret of his own, and Connelly is the only one he can turn to for help. Together they form a council of two, helping each other with their homework and sharing secrets. As the pair's friendship grows, Connelly learns that it's the truth, not the secrets, that one must guard and protect. And that between friends, the truth, however harsh, is also beautiful.

This lovely and memorable debut by Alyssa B. Sheinmel contains many of the hallmark themes found in young adult literature—friendship, coming of age, finding a place to belong, and overcoming the death of a loved one. Emotionally moving from start to finish, The Beautiful Between introduces a strong new voice to the genre, a voice with a long future ahead of it.
(info from Goodreads)

I think this one sounds pretty good!

Book Review - Splendor by Anna Godberson

Tuesday November 17, 2009

Splendor: A Luxe Novel (Book 4)
by Anna Godberson
Available Now
New beginnings.

Shocking revelations.

Unexpected endings.

A spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new role as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father's death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes.

Carolina Broad, society's newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future.

Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty—but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father's rule extends well beyond New York's shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle.

In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?

I fell in love with this series from the very beginning. Each book cover represents one of the four young ladies whose lives are intertwined among the most of elite of New York high society in the late 1800's. With chapters in each book alternating between each of their perspectives, readers soon find out the secret desires of each of heroines and what lengths they will go to attain what they want.

In order to really enjoy Splendor you will have to have read the three other books which is an excellent idea anyway because they are great books.

Splendor is a wrap up of the entire series with an epilogue at the very end that gives even a little bit more info on the future of Diana, Penelope, Elizabeth and Carolina.

Okay, yes as with three other books in the series I really like this book and basically finished it in one day...but this book is an excellent example of how readers may differ from the author in what they would like to see happen to their favorite characters. I don't want to say too much because I don't like to post spoilers but I'll just say that the ending wasn't what I was really expecting or wanted.

But, that being said I can see that the author did stay true to each character and the conclusion to the series is probably a more realistic ending.

Are you intrigued? Good!

With the setting being in New York during the late 1800's and dealing with city's high society and all the rules and restrictions that go along with it, this book does have a slight and much lighter resemblance to the classic The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.

Book Review - The Well by A.J. Whitten

Monday November 16, 2009

The Well
by A.J. Whitten
Available Now
If Hamlet thought he had issues, he should have talked to Cooper Warner.

His mother’s normally sunny demeanor has turned into something—homicidal.

And what’s worse, she has help in her hunt for Cooper: A ravenous monster living at the bottom of the old well in the woods behind their house. She’s determined to deliver her 14-year-old son straight into the creature’s eager clutches. Cooper turns to his girlfriend, Megan, for help, but then, to his horror, the creature takes her prisoner.

Now, it’s up to Cooper to fend off his murderous mother, finish his Hamlet paper, and enter the putrid lair at the bottom of the well to rescue Megan. And when he confronts the creature, Cooper must make the toughest decision of his life: kill, or be killed.

Inspired by Hamlet, THE WELL puts a terrifying twist on the Shakespearean classic.

This book definitely has one of the most interesting plots that I've read in a long time. Not just the twist on the story of Hamlet but there is also an interesting story regarding the history of the creature in the well and why it is so determined to kill Cooper. The author's description of the creature is really disgusting by the way...I was seriously creeped out!

Not only is Cooper freaked out by his mothers sudden urge to feed him to the creature in the well, but he is also dealing with his wicked step-father who seems to have it out for him...his brother doesn't get hassled half as much as he does! He just can't seem to get a break!

When the creature takes Megan prisoner in order to lure Cooper to the well, all heck breaks loose. How can Cooper explain to everyone where she's at without everyone thinking he's crazy? So instead they think HE has something to do with her disappearance. When the local police get involved things start really getting weird...

The story isn't perfect and I'll admit there are a few slow spots but overall I think the story is unique and interesting enough that most readers will like it.

A little bit of cussing, moderate violence and some scary situations make this best for 7th grade and up!

In My Mailbox (22)

Sunday November 8, 2009

In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren is a way to share what you new books get each week. So, the following books are all ARCs I received in the mail this week for review...*yippeee* :o)

For Review:

What I Wore to Save the World

by Maryrose Wood
Available December 1, 2009
Senior year's coming up fast and Morgan still has no clue about college, or a career-the whole rest of-her-life thing is basically a blank. Maybe it's because she spent her junior year obsessing about Colin, the hot Irish guy she fell for last summer (that was right around the same time she discovered she's a half- goddess from the days of Irish lore... you had to be there). She even saved Colin from a nasty enchantment, but he doesn't know that. Colin doesn't believe in magic, not even a little.

But then a mysterious message reunites her with Colin, who turns out to be caught up in the biggest faery-made disaster ever. We're talking the end of reality-not just reality TV. To save the world, she's going to have to tell Colin the truth about her half-goddess mojo. But if he doesn't believe in magic, how will he ever believe in her?

I also received some AWESOME craft books for review that I am super excited about!!! Be on the look out for some cool stuff to show with my reviews!

Hope you all had a great week!

Book Review - Making Designer Jewelry With Hardware, Gems and Beads

Saturday November 7, 2009

Making Designer Jewelry With Hardware, Gems and Beads
by Nicole Noelle Sherman
Available Now!
25 Gorgeous How-to Projects!

Book Summary: Interest in beading and jewelry-making continues to grow. Making Designer Jewelry from Hardware, Beads, and Gems offers DIY crafters and jewelry-makers a fun, funky approach to jewelry constructed from not only glass beads, pearls, and semi-precious gemstones, but shows how to incorporate simple stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass and tin hardware, such as nuts, bolts, washers, and tubing, into stunning, innovative, and modern jewelry pieces.

Using hardware in jewelry has become popular, and features an aesthetic twist that mixes "high" and "low" --inexpensive and common metal hardware with favorite bead-store jewels.

I have been making jewelry for several years and the one thing I have found is that you can make jewelry out of just about anything! With everything Steampunk being popular right now, this how-to book is definitely one that you want to pick up!

Not familiar with what is in your local hardware store? That's okay! I suggest you go and take a look but the author has also provided a page of various pieces that she uses so you can just order them off the internet if you need to! But like I said, half the fun is going to the hardware store, looking around and picking up little pieces of this and that to play with!

There are also pages of beginner how-to's and what's, what in regards to traditional jewelry materials and tools too. Forgot or need to know to wrap loop? You're in luck...the book also provides a few basic wire how-to's!

Earrings, bracelets and necklaces...25 projects that will make you say "Wow, I never thought of that!" Everything from copper washers to tiny light bulbs.....yes, light bulbs!

A fun one from beginners to intermediates....Enjoy!

Book Review - Dragonfly by Julia Golding

Friday November 6, 2009

by Julia Golding
Available Now
Princess Taoshira of the Blue Crescent Islands is appalled when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil of Gerfal in order to unite their lands. And he's not too pleased, either. They hate each other on sight.

So, when Tashi and Ramil are kidnapped, they fear there's no escape - from their kidnappers or from each other. Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive ambush, unarmed combat, brainwashing, and imprisonment?

And will the people they meet on their adventure help them or betray them to the enemy?

This is just one of those books that is a joy to read. It has an age old storyline about two strangers who are for various reasons, unhappily betrothed. Thankfully the author's imagination adds more depth and originality to the story.

Princess Taoshira, or Tashi as she is called, is from a land that is predominantly run by women. Taken at a very young age from her simple life as a goat herder's daughter, Tashi is thrust into the position of Fourth Crown Princess of her kingdom. She learns the customs of this position before she really even knows who she is herself.

Ramil on the other hand has been royalty his whole life and therefore lives accordingly. Although a tad bit used to getting his way it is obvious he is a good person with good intentions for his future kingdom.

I enjoyed getting to know all the characters in this book. Tashi and Ramil are our leads but the story would not be as fun without all the unique supporting characters.

A easy, fun read that I easily recommend. A lot of adventure, gory battle scenes, a love story, and quite a bit of humor too.

Descriptive battle scenes make this appropriate for 6th grade and up!

Find out more about Julia Golding and her other books HERE

Review Round Up!

Here is a round-up of my latest reviews. I'm primarily doing this for some librarian friends but hopefully they will be useful to everyone! This will eventually be a link for all the reviews I've done so far but this is a start....enjoy :o)

Forest Born by Shannon Hale
Watcher In the Woods: Dreamhouse Kings Book 2 by Robert Liparulo
Devoured by Amanda Marrone
My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman
The Everafter by Amy Huntley
Secret Society by Tom Dolby
Dreams of the Dead: The Waking Book 1 by Thomas Randall
The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
Fire by Kristin Cashore
Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Beautiful by Amy Reed
We Were Here by Matt de la Pena
The Demon King (Book 1) by Cinda Williams Chima
Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen
The Dying Breath: A Forensic Mystery Book 4 by Alane Ferguson
Gatekeeper: Dreamhouse Kings Book 3 by Robert Liparulo
Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga
Dragonfly by Julia Golding

Book Review - Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga

Wednesday November 4, 2009

Goth Girl Rising
by Barry Lyga
Available Now!
Time is a funny thing in the hospital. In the mental ward. You lose track of it easily.

After six months in the Maryland Mental Health Unit, Kyra Sellers, a.k.a. Goth Girl, is going home. Unfortunately, she's about to find out that while she was away, she lost track of more than time. Kyra is back in black, feeling good, and ready to make up with the only person who's ever appreciated her for who she really is. But then she sees him. Fanboy. Transcended from everything he was into someone she barely recognizes. And the anger and memories come rushing back.

There's so much to do to people when you're angry. Kyra's about to get very busy.

Unfortunately I was never able to fit The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl into my reading schedule when it came out but when I received Goth Girl Rising in the mail a few months ago I was really excited! I definitely wanted to see what the hype was all about...

If you haven't read the first book,Fanboy and Goth Girl, I suggest you do but if not you won't be lost at all. The author does a great job of filling in the back story for the first time reader so that you can understand where Kyra (goth girl) is coming from.

First I want to say that when I went to GoodReads to copy the book summary I happen to catch a glimpse of a "one-star" review that I couldn't help but read. Note that at this point I had already formed my opinion of the book and I was reading this review simply out of curiosity because I am always fascinated by really bad reviews. I think this is because books, like art bring out emotions and I want to see how and why people reacted the way they did. Make sense?

Anyway, this person didn't agree with Kyra's voice because she felt that it was technically from a male point of view due to the fact that the author is a guy. This person used the example that Kyra was way too fixated on her boobs and the possibility that she could be a lesbian based on her feelings for her best friend. These points got me thinking....

Of course a conflicted teenage girl who is obviously smart, savvy and shrewd is going to look at things a little differently. I mean despite what you think people we do live in a male driven world! If anything Kyra is questioning this and is determined not to fall into the trap of using her physical assets (aka her big boobs) to get ahead or to get the attention of boys.

There is no doubt about it, Kyra is a complicated girl with a razor sharp attitude that gets her into more trouble than she would like. Not to mention the TON of baggage she is carrying around with her due to the death of her mom and the resulting slow destruction of her relationship with her dad. Yes, this is no light-weight read, there is a lot going on here.

Anyway, I know I brought up a lot of various points to this book but they are ones I thought were important. I really enjoyed the book and really felt for Kyra as she struggled through her journey of despair and enlightenment. Despite the painful issues in the story, there is some genuine funny dialogue and Kyra is a character most readers will respect and care for.

Strong writing+Great Story= Read it!

Situational drug use and sexual references make this best suited for 9th grade and above.

A Long Fun Weekend!

Tuesday November 3, 2009

I'm a little behind this week in reviews because of the Leadership conference I went to this last weekend. We had a ton of fun but 2 days and 2 nights with 11 middle school kids can wear a girl out! These are great kids though and a few of them are my original "Library Lounge Lizards". Here they are anticipating a fun weekend in Yakima, Washington!

I'll probably be posting a new contest soon so check back soon!

Contest Winners!

Monday November 2, 2009

Contest winners for two of my latest contests!

First up is the winner of the signed copy of

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

the winner is:



Next up are the winners for the

Vampire's Assistant Giveaway

the winners are:




Thanks to everyone who entered and be on the look out for more contests coming soon!