Friday, July 31, 2009

Review: Front and Center

Title: Front and Center
Author: Catherine Murdock
Publication date: October 19th, 2009


D.J Schwenk is once more in the halls of Red Bend High School and just wants to fade into the background again. No suck luck. The pressures of love, family and school all collide during basketball season, when D.J. is forced to make some life-changing decisions. Her friendship with Beaner turns into something more, but her ex, Brian Nelson, lingers in the back of her mind. Win and her dad are on D.J. about verballing to Big Ten schools, while Coach K has scouts sitting in the bleachers to watch her lead the team and call the shots, literally. The stress and chaos leave her doubting herself- can she really handle Big Ten ball?

This is the third book in the Dairy Queen trilogy. If you haven't read the other two, you definitely should do that before reading this one. Stop reading now if you haven't read the first two books and don't want spoilers.

This book was really fun for me to read. It's told from the perspective of a high school student, but not the kind you'd expect to read about in most novels. It was interesting to read about a girl who has a passion for sports, and also works hard on a farm in a small town. The author wrote the book in such a way that I almost felt I was the main character, so it was very easy to sympathize with her feelings and the problems that she faced. Sometimes I was annoyed by her constantly doubting herself, or the fact that she was always bringing up Brian when she stopped dating him but not doing anything about it other than complaining. But I think that she really evolved as a person throughout the book, and was a very likable character. Brian Nelson was also an important character, one that I couldn't quite decide if I liked or not. But by the end of the book I felt like he learned what was important to him, and I started to like him more.

I usually couldn't care less about farm work or sports, but while reading Front and Center I cared about everything that was happening just as much as if I were a character in the book. And I think that says a lot for this book, because most of the time with books on topics that I have no interest in, I will put them down because I get so bored. That didn't happen with this one though, and I'm glad because I ended up really liking it. Fans of the first two books won't be disappointed with the third.

Characters: 8/10
Plot: 7/10
Originality: 9/10
Writing: 8/10
Overall grade: B

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trailer Tuesdays

EDIT: Reposting this today, because apparently I posted it yesterday thinking yesterday was Tuesday. Ugh.

I've decided to add a new feature to my blog that I've not seen on many others - Trailer Tuesdays. Sort of similar to the Waiting on Wednesday posts I've seen, but in trailer form! So every Tuesday, I'll be posting a nifty trailer of an upcoming book that I'd like to read.

We'll start off this week with Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley, which will be released on August 6th.

This book is definitely going on my wishlist! For more information about the book or the author, you can check out the author's website.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

In My Mailbox (7/19 - 7/25)

Slept Away by Julie Kraut

Thanks to Read This Book for this one :) Looks like a great summer read, I'll have to start on it before the summer's over!

Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock

I'm reading this one now. Almost halfway through it, and I'm still not quite sure what I think of it.

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

Yay! Preordered this one a while back and now I finally have it :D Can't wait to read it, I've heard amazing things about it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Pure" Giveaway

It's now time for the giveaway that I had mentioned a while back, of my extra copy of Pure by Terra Elan McVoy! One lucky winner will win a brand new hardcover copy.
You can read my review and a summary of the book here.

To enter:
Leave a comment with your email address.

Extra entries:
+1 Post about this contest somewhere and leave me a link to it
+1 Become a follower
+2 If you're already a follower (thanks!)
+2 For commenting on my review (something more substantial than "Great review", please)

Open to:
USA (Sorry! It's a hardcover.)

Last day to enter is August 10th.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Review: Local Girls

Title: Local Girls
Author: Jenny O'Connell
Publication date: June 24, 2008


Kendra and Mona are best friends, local girls who spend their summers catering to rich tourists and the rest of the year chafing against small-town life. Then Mona's mom marries one of the island's rich summer visitors, and Mona joins the world of the Boston elite, leaving Kendra and Martha's Vineyard behind. When Mona returns the following summer, everything is different. Now Mona spends her days sunbathing with her private-school friends, while Kendra works at The Willow Inn -- a job she and Mona once hoped to do together.
Unlike his sister, Mona's twin brother Henry hasn't changed. He's spending his summer the way he always has: with long, quiet hours fishing. Early mornings before work become special for Kendra as she starts sharing them with Henry, hoping he can help her figure Mona out. Then Kendra hatches a plan to prove she's Mona's one true friend. She'll uncover the identity of the twins' birth father, a question that has always obsessed Mona. And so she sets out to unravel the seventeen-year-old mystery of the summer boy who charmed Mona's mother. But are some secrets better off staying buried?

When I first picked this up, I was afraid that based on the title and the cover, it would turn out to be one of those novels that has little substance and you read when you have absolutely nothing better to read. Luckily, I was wrong. Instead, it's one of those books that has its ups and downs, but in the end leaves you with a good feeling. It was a great summer read about new and old friendships, family, and finding love. I was just as interested in finding out what would happen between Kendra and Mona as I was in seeing what would happen with Kendra and Henry's relationship. The characters were simple yet lovable, and there was something about Henry that made me wish I had a boy just like him. Overall, I really liked this book. It was simple, but also left me thinking a lot about finding love and the fact that no matter what happens, true friends will always find a way to stay together. If you're looking for another summer read to add to your pile before the summer's over, I'd suggest this one.

Characters: 8/10
Plot: 8/10
Originality: 7/10
Writing: 8/10
Overall grade: B

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Review: Fairy Tale

Title: Fairy Tale
Author: Cyn Balog

Publication date: June 23, 2009

Morgan Sparks and Cam Browne are a match made in heaven. They've been best friends since birth, they tell each other everything, and oh yeah- they're totally hot for each other.

But a week before their joint Sweet Sixteen bash, everything changes. Cam's awkward cousin Pip comes to stay, and Morgan is stunned when her formerly perfect boyfriend seems to be drifting away.

When Morgan demands answers, she's shocked to discover the source of Cam's distance isn't another girl- it's another world. Pip claims that Cam is a fairy. No, seriously. A fairy. And now his people want Cam to return to their world and take his rightful place as Fairy King.

Determined to keep Cam with her, Morgan plots to fool the fairies. But as Cam continues to change, she has to decide once and for all if he really is her destiny, and if their “perfect” love can weather an uncertain future.

This was one of those books that since the moment I heard about it, I knew I had to have a copy. It was originally titled Fairy Lust, which I think almost fits it better, but it was still a great book either way. I've read other books about fairies before, I'm sure we all have. But this one was unique in that it wasn't the female or the main character who discovers they're a fairy - it was the main character's boyfriend. I think that made it all the more interesting, because Cam is this totally macho jock guy, who starts turning weak when he finds out he's a fairy.

I just thought the whole idea was interesting, that Cam and Pip got switched but suddenly Cam has to go to Otherworld. Cam and Morgan's relationship makes it even more interesting, because you always wanted to know what would happen. I mean, what if the person you loved realized that they were a fairy, and had to return to another world?

The plot and style in which it was executed were great, and the characters were all unique in their own ways but each had qualities I could relate to. Most novels involving fairies start to all kind of blend together in my eyes, but this was one that definitely stood out. What a great debut novel! I'm definitely looking forward to more from Cyn Balog.

Characters: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 10/10
Writing: 9/10
Overall grade: A

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Review: The Glass Maker's Daughter

Title: The Glass Maker's Daughter
Author: V. Briceland
Publication date: April 1st, 2009

Magic lies at the heart of Cassaforte, medieval city of bewitchments and intrigue. Cassaforte is home to sixteen-year-old Risa Divetri, whose fate is about to be decided by the gods.
Risa has led the sheltered life of a nobleman's daughter, but soon she plans to leave home to study the family craft-creating enchanted glass objects. When the gods are consulted to determine which school she will attend, the impossible happens: Risa remains unchosen. The rejection sends Risa into a spiral of shame, anger, and confusion. If she's not meant to be a glass maker, what will she do?
But when Cassaforte's age-old magic begins to unravel and dark forces threaten the kingdom, Risa's fiery spirit and untapped powers take her on a perilous journey—one that will lead her to her true destiny.

I honestly didn't expect to like this book. It's not something I would have originally even considered reading. But after reading it, all I can say is that it was amazing! It started off a bit slow, but once I read more into it and understood the city of Cassaforte better, the book got so much more interesting. There were magic and fantasy elements, but they fit so well with everything that they just seemed normal. The plot was well built and filled with lots of interesting twists, and the characters were very likable and real. At the beginning of each chapter were quotes from fictitious letters and records, but I stopped reading them after a few chapters because they didn't seem to add anything to the story and only confused the reader, if anything. But overall, this was a very enjoyable book.

No matter what your tastes in genre are, I would recommend giving this book a try. I would have never expected that I'd read something like this, let alone thoroughly enjoy it, but I did. Book Two, The Buccaneer's Apprentice, will be coming out in 2010 and now I absolutely can't wait for it.

Characters: 9/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 10/10
Writing: 9/10
Overall grade: A-

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Suite Scarlett Winners

Now it's time to announce the 5 winners of my Suite Scarlett giveaway! And they are....

Briana Megan

Congratulations! I've emailed all of you. Please reply within 72 hours or I'll have to pick a new winner.

Edit: Briana has generously chosen to pass her copy along to someone else, and that person is Megan! Megan, I've just sent you an email :)

In My Mailbox (7/13 - 7/18)

Evermore by Alyson Noel

Won this from The Savvy Book Blog :) Thanks! I love the cover, it's so pretty. Can't wait to read this one and then get Blue Moon!

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

Thanks to Fantastic Book Review for this one! This isn't something I would typically pick up at a bookstore, but the last book I said that about I'm reading right now and loving it. So I'll definitely give this one a chance.

Top 8 by Katie Finn

Secrets of My Suburban Life by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

David Inside Out by Lee Bantle

Thanks to Shooting Stars Mag for this one! I'm so excited to read it, it sounds great. And I haven't read any GLBT books in quite a while, so I'm even more excited.

The Off Season by Catherine Murdock

I immediately went on Amazon and ordered the first two books after receiving Front and Center last week. Now I'm just waiting for the first one to get here..

Woohoo, so many exciting books! What did everyone else get?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Contest Reminder

Just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to enter to win a copy of Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson!

If you haven't already entered, go here to do so :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Review: ghostgirl: Homecoming

Title: ghostgirl: Homecoming
Author: Tonya Hurley

Publication date: July 1st, 2009

Heaven couldn't be a phone bank, could it?

Charlotte Usher discovers that the afterlife isn't quite what she pictured when she's forced to intern at a hotline for troubled teens. Before she can officially cross over, she'll have to be a source of guidance for one such teen. The problem is she doesn't have much advice to offer since dying hasn't exactly boosted her confidence level.

But when Hawthorne High's leading, love-to-hate cheerleader Petula and her gothic little sis' Scarlet find themselves suddenly resting-in-peace in comas, Charlotte's opportunity to save them will prove to be the risk of a lifetime-for all of them.

I'm happy to say that I liked this one even better than ghostgirl. After finishing ghostgirl, I said that I thought it was all wrapped up well and didn't think it needed a sequel. But I'm glad that it had one, because I really enjoyed this book too.

Again, it's got a fun gorgeous cover. This time, purple. I liked Charlotte's character a bit better in this one too, because she seemed to become less worried about herself, and more worried about helping others. I also felt like I got to know the other characters better in this sequel, such as Charlotte's dead friends, and Petula and her sidekicks. The plot was entertaining and there was always something fun or exciting going on. There were parts that made me laugh really hard, and also parts that were really touching. This was a great sequel to a great first book.

Characters: 9/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 9/10
Writing: 8/10
Overall grade: B

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In My Mailbox (7/6 - 7/11)

The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart

I think the cover on this one is so cute :D But unfortunately, I haven't read the previous two books in the series. So I need to obtain copies of those and read them before I'll read this one.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Okay so I've heard a lot about this book, but had never actually read the summary until I got my copy (thanks to Sharon :D). And after I read it, I became instantly excited and wanted to start the book right away. But of course I've got other books I need to read first, so this one will have to wait for a bit.

Front & Center by Catherine Murdock

Received to review for Bookdivas. But right as I went to type this and started reading the back cover, I realized that it's also part of a trilogy. And you should know me by now - I hate reading books out of order! D: Need to get the other two, quick!

Review: ghostgirl

Title: ghostgirl
Author: Tonya Hurley

Publication date: August 1st, 2008

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And if I should die before I awake,
I pray the popular attend my wake.

Charlotte Usher feels practically invisible at school, and then one day she really is. Even worse: she's dead. And all because of a guy and a gummy bear. In this satirical yet heartfelt novel, Tonya Hurley explores the invisibility we all feel at times and the lengths we will go to be seen.

First of all, I really liked the design of the book itself. It was an odd size, and had a neat little see-through coffin thing on the front. The writing was all in silver, as were the side of the pages, and the inside was filled with pictures and fun "introductions" to each chapter. This all kind of helped to set the mood for the book.

Here's a quick rundown of the book, because the back cover didn't provide a ton of information. On Charlotte's first day back to school, she's determined to be noticed. She decides that this day will be the first day of her new life. Charlotte is determined to get the attention of Damen, a popular boy who already has a girlfriend. When he asks her to help tutor him in Physics, she can't believe it. But then she has a freak accident - she chokes on a red gummy bear and dies. She doesn't want to accept that fact though, and she believes that she can still win over Damen - through Scarlet, a girl who can see her. (And who happens to be Damen's girlfriend's sister.)

I really liked this book. I found Charlotte to be a bit annoying at times, like trying so hard to be popular on the first day back to school. And her refusal to accept the fact that she was dead kind of started to be annoying by the middle of the book. But I really liked the friendship that formed between Charlotte and Scarlet. The plot and writing were kind of simple, but it still had me laughing at a lot of parts (and in that kind of funny way, where the situation itself wouldn't normally be funny but you can't help but laugh. For example, Charlotte choking on the gummy bear and dying.)

Another thing that I liked while I was reading was that I had no idea what was going to happen. Some books are very predictable like that, but this one was not. There was always some new thing happening that I wasn't expecting, and I always wanted to keep reading to find out what kind of odd things would happen next.

I think it was all wrapped up and ended nicely, and would have been great as just a stand-alone book. But there's the sequel, ghostgirl: Homecoming, which I'll be reading next.

Characters: 8/10
Plot: 8/10
Originality: 9/10
Writing: 8/10
Overall grade: B

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: Pure

Title: Pure
Author: Terra Elan McVoy
Publication date: April 7th, 2009


Tabitha and her four best friends all wear purity rings, symbols of the virginity-until-marriage pledge they made back in middle school. Now Tab is fifteen, and her ring has come to mean so much more. It’s a symbol of who she is and what she believes—a reminder of her promises to herself, and her bond to her friends.
But when Tab meets a boy whose kisses make her knees go weak, everything suddenly seems a lot more complicated. Tab’s best friend, Morgan, is far from supportive, and for the first time, Tabitha is forced to keep secrets from the one person with whom she’s always shared everything. When one of those secrets breaks to the surface, Tabitha finds herself at the center of a betrayal that splits her friends apart. As her entire world starts to unravel, Tab’s forced to re-examine her friendships, her faith, and what exactly it means to be pure.

I was really excited to read this book, because the concept of purity rings was intriguing to me and I'd never read much about them before. While I did enjoy reading it, it felt to me like things never went very in depth. There were 5 girls in the circle of friends (Tabitha, Morgan, Cara, Naeomi, and Priah) but I only felt like I somewhat got to know 3 of them. They each had their own purpose in the story of course, but I felt like maybe they could have each been developed a bit more. The book as a whole was very enjoyable, however I had this slight feeling that something was missing the whole time. Pure was still a great book, I'm just saying that there was potential for more depth in the characters and perhaps the plot.

A lot of the story was based on religion/church and morals (obviously the idea of the purity ring being the main one), and this is not something I'm used to in YA books. I'm not a religious person, so it took a bit of getting used to on my part to have it told so much from that perspective. However, it wasn't completely like in your face or trying to push anything. While it was a big part of the book, it was executed in such a way that anyone, religious or not, could enjoy the book. I admire how that was done, so props to the author :)

I really liked Tabitha, the main character. I felt like I could really relate to her thoughts and how she dealt with a lot of the problems that she had. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, but it wasn't as in depth as I thought it would be, I suppose. It was a cute, light read, but if the author was going for something deeper than that, I think more could have been done with it.

Characters: 6/10
Plot: 7/10
Originality: 8/10
Writing: 8/10
Overall grade: C

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My first vlog! (Eyes Like Stars release)

My first vlog ever! :D I decided to go out on a limb and do something different, and make a congratulatory vlog for Lisa Mantchev's upcoming release Eyes Like Stars as part of the extravaganza.

So without further ado, here is my first vlog failure attempt.

In My Mailbox (6/29 - 7/4)

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog

I won this from, and it's signed too. Yay! I think the cover is so pretty. And the plot sounds amazing as well. There is a picture of a fortune cookie on the back cover, that I totally wasn't expecting to be there when I turned it over. It kind of makes me laugh because it seems so random compared to the front. I'm sure there's significance though, and I can't wait to see what it is :)

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

The summary of this one sounds so different and interesting. I'm hoping it'll be as good as I think it will. I've only read one of Maureen Johnson's other books (and it's the one that I only know of a few other people who've read it - The Bermudez Triangle. Most people seem to have read her other books.) I really enjoyed The Bermudez Triangle though, so I've definitely got high expectations for this one.

Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico by Malin Alegria

Found this in the $3 bargain books at Borders, and couldn't resist! I'm not a huge fan of the cover, but I picked it up and looked it over anyway. The plot sounds really interesting, and for $3 I figured it's worth a shot!

The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

While I wasn't the biggest fan of the first Deb Caletti book I read (The Queen of Everything), you guys urged me to try some of her other books. This is one that I've been really interested in reading since I first heard of it, so I was excited when I also found it in the $3 bargain bin at Borders. I snatched it up right away. I'm really hoping that I'll like it, because I can already relate to the main character in the fact that I have panic disorder as well. I'm not sure if it'll be anything like Jade's in the book, so I'm looking forward to reading about it.

What great books did you all get this week?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Suite Scarlett Giveaway!

This is a giveaway for 5 copies of Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson. This means 5 people will win! :)
"When Scarlett Martin turns fifteen she is put in charge of the Empire Suite, one of the rooms in her family’s hotel. Enter Mrs. Amberson, an aging C-list starlet who decides to employ Scarlett. Soon, she is taking dictation, running around New York City, and getting caught up in Mrs. Amberson’s crazy adventures. In the midst of it all, Scarlett falls in love–or so she thinks–and it takes Mrs. Amberson to help her see the light."

Find out more at the author's website:

To enter:
Leave a comment with your email address.

Extra entry: Post about this contest somewhere and tell me about it.

Open to: USA

Deadline: Last day to enter is July 17th.