Friday, February 27, 2009

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley


North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Synopsis from author's website:

From behind, you’d think Terra Cooper had it all: she’s tall but not too tall, has a figure to kill for, and boasts naturally blonde hair. But the palm-sized birthmark on her face might as well be her fate map. Everyone in her small, touristy town knows what’s hidden beneath the heavy makeup she’s worn since birth. Sick of being the town oddity and even sicker of her caustic mapmaker of a father, Terra yearns to escape the suffocating grid of her life. And then she nearly runs over an Asian Goth boy, her age…and encounters True Beauty in him…and herself.


Headley creates a character in Terra who is so complex, mixing insecurities with a grand life plan, and so endearing you can't help but love her and feel sympathy for her. She is a classically tormented artist but instead of being tortured by her art she is forced to deal with an emotionally abusive father and the waves of destruction that creates throughout her family. In an attempt to escape their father her brother abandon her and her mother. Terra is also tormented by the classic images that define beauty which she can never emulate because of the birthmark on her face. Instead of embracing what makes her different she tries to cover her face with make up and erase the mark with painful treatments. Even her boyfriend and best friend add to her insecurities without being aware of it.

Her life and the novel take a major turn when she nearly hits an Asian Goth boy with her car and the two form an unlikely friendship. The time these two spend together is the best part of the novel. Whether at home or on their trip to China Jacob is always brutally honest with her and pushes her to rethink all her preconceived notion of beauty.

The novel was incredibly beautiful and touching. You could feel every emotion Terra felt and just as deeply as she was. I am having a hard time putting in to words how touched I was by Terra's story and her transformation from someone who was trying to be invisible to someone who embraced all her beauty. It was also incredibly original that Headley braided map making throughout the entire novel. Terra's father is a cartographer, her brothers and her all have map related names, Terra's art always involves maps both literally and abstractly and Terra and Jacob go geocaching together.

I think Headley's work in this novel is completely brilliant. Her characters have layers and depth and the plot is incredibly original. I also really want to go geocaching now, in China, with Jacob and Terra.

I have so many favorite quotes from this novel but here are a few:
"The pressure of his touch through my jacket and my sweater was more assurance than any promise ever made to me. It was a touch that said, I have your back and I am here for you. If a girl wasn't careful, she could fall in love with a touch like that."

"There must be a few times in life when you stand at a precipice of a decision. When you know there will forever be a Before and an After."

"A pathfinder's job is hard enough - blazing trails where there are none, guided by nothing but hearsay and gut. While you're hacking your way through bracken, worrying about lurking beasts, all you can do is hope you had chosen the right direction."

Ask and you shall recieve: Jennifer Echols edition


So remember just a few days ago when I raved about how amazing Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols is and I begged for a new book by Echols?

Well just a few hours later she posted the wonderful news on her blog that she has another romantic comedy coming out October 6 called The Ex Games. And it is available to pre order NOW!

She also posted a round up of reviews of Going Too Far, (including mine) so if you don't believe me about how amazing it is go check out some more reviews.

This is positively amazing news.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wicked cool home made bookmark

So the lovely Amanda at Reviewabook123 makes great home made bookmarks which she then scans and sends to you and you can print and have as your very own. She even customizes them. This is the awesome bookmark she made for me. Check out her review blog or her bookmark blog to get your very own personalized bookmark!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two amazing contests!

First! Sarah Ockler is giving away TWO copies of Twenty Boys of Summer
You have to Join the TWENTY BOY SUMMER fan page and tell her that I sent you of course!
This contest ends Jan 28 so hurry, hurry, hurry!



The second contest is happening over at Addicted to Books
There are five awesome books up for grabs including Wake, Cracked Up To Be and Bloom. All you have to do is become a follower and again make sure you let her know I sent you. Ends March 30.

Enjoy both contests and make sure you tell them I sent you!!

LIbrary Loot - Week 6

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by A Striped Armchair and Alessandra that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.


Now You See Her by Jaquelyn Mitchard


Hope has it all: brains, beauty, and acceptance at Starwood, a prestigious arts prep school. A mere sophomore, she has won the lead in Romeo and Juliet, beating out seniors for the role—seniors who have been in movies and on Broadway! And with handsome Logan as her Romeo onstage and off, her life couldn't be more perfect.

So why would this talented teen throw everything away? Why would she fake her own abduction? Hope wants to explain what really happened, and gradually the truth comes out: Maybe her life wasn't that perfect after all.


Just Another Day In My Insanely Real Life by Barbara Dee

Mustard. A charity orange. Five apples. A half-gone pint of charity cream cheese. A half-gone gallon of milk. An open can of Friskies. And a half-gone liter of Diet Coke.

That's all the food in the house when Cassie's sister, Miranda, forgets to do the shopping. It's just the latest crisis in Cassie's life since her father moved out and her mother went back to work, and Cassie feels totally responsible for keeping things together for her little brother.

And things aren't any better at school. Cassie's grades are plummeting, her best friends have turned nasty, she's getting mixed signals from a cute boy, and then there's Mr. Mullaney -- the weirdest, hardest English teacher in the seventh grade -- who hates everything she does. Cassie's sassy humor has seen her through in the past, but it doesn't seem to be helping her now. What's a girl to do when life gets totally insane?

Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

This time, the hyperobservant, angst-ridden teenager is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her senior year at Pineville High. Not only does the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continue to distract Jessica, but her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and she can’t seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends. To top it off, Jessica’s parents won’t get off her butt about choosing a college, and her sister Bethany’s pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household.

The first two I picked up on a whim. I saw them, they looked interesting, I brought them home. But I am really excited for Second Helpings. I already read Sloppy Firsts and rather enjoyed it so I am set to read all five books in the series.

What did you get this week?

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols


Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge — and over....


This book was simply beautiful. It was well written and touching and completely amazing. Meg has so many layers to her character and when you think you have her figured out John reveals that there is way more to him than could possibly have been anticipated.

At first glance Meg is your typical rebel without a cause, drinking, having sex and generally acting like a bad ass just because she is bored with her small town. If you read this blog with any kind of regularity you know I love a protagonist with sass and Meg has it in boatloads. But she is also complex and intelligent and there is so much pain and history behind her sarcasm (and her blue hair) that you can't help but fall in love with her. You know immediately that there is a reason she is acting out but the actual cause was one I never saw coming, and it completely changes the narrative.

When you put her together with the extremely guarded John, a cop who lives by the rules, you get fireworks. And not just the good fireworks that come with a love story. But also the bad fireworks that will literally blow up everything in their path. John has his own incredible history and the two stories are woven together beautifully and seamlessly.

This book is drastically different than Echols' Major Crush which I also loved and I am in awe of how talented she is that she crafted such different stories.

Going Too Far is officially released on March 17 but you really need to pre order it NOW!
And go visit Jennifer at her blog and tell her how amazing she is and to write more, very, very quickly.

--
Other reviews (please tell me if you have reviewed it and I didn't add yours)
Flamingnet
Eye On Romance
Teen Book Review
The Book Obsession
Sarah's Random Musings
Persnickety Snark

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reason 7498232 why I love John Green



"Nerd girls are the world's greatest underutilized romantic resource."
-John Green (is a genius) (and an awesome dancer)

I currently embrace every bit of my nerdyness but I am 22 and much more confident than I was at 15. And you know what I have nerdy friends and we have nerdy boys who like us. I wish I had known this at 15 though.

VAMPED street team!


The awesome Lucienne Diver is recruiting people to be on her street team and promote her book Vamped! All you have to do is sign up here. The first nine people (the fabulous Allie has already signed up to be my first victim…er, team player, making for a nice, round ten) get a free T-shirt and signed copy of VAMPED when it’s released in May. The next twenty-five get a signed bookplate. There will be extras here and there as time goes on.

What's the catch? All you have to do for the book is love it and squeeze it and call it VAMPED. Unsure? I don’t want to bribe anyone for their votes of confidence (did I mention the possibility of chocolate?), so here’s a link to a sample from VAMPED to see if it'll be up your alley. If it is, if you love it, I'm hoping you won't be shy about saying so. Shout it from the rafters, spread the love. Blog, tell your friends, post reviews on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com or Shelfari

Sound interesting? Go to Diver's website and sign up!

Teaser Tuesday - Going Too Far

Teaser Tuesday asks you to:

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!


"He was still giving me the look. I could feel it singeing me hair."
page 115 of Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols


This is a teaser for me too since I just got this book today and have only read about 20 pages because I had to work tonight (Yay for my first day at my new waitressing job!)


Monday, February 23, 2009

Contests Galore


Grand Prize: $100 GC to Amazon.com
Runner Up: $25 GC to B&N and a box of surprise paperbacks and other goodies (like chocolate, bath goodies, ect). This is going to be a NICE prize!
Runner Up: $25 GC to B&N and a box of surprise paperbacks and other goodies. (same as above)

Plus chances to win books (almost) every day for a month!

Go to http://www.anyabast.com/blog/ for details on how to enter.





**Contests in italics are over**

The Forest of Hands and Teeth from Carrie's Procrastinatory Outlet. Ends Feb 25 at Midnight.
Fade from Elizabeth Scott. Ends March 2 at Midnight. It is part of a 22 day celebration in honor of the release of Something, Maybe so keep checking back!
Paper Towns by John Green from the Shady Glade. Ends March 2
The Forest of Hands and Teeth from Cupcake Witch. Ends March 2
Owning It: Stories about Teens with Disabilities from The Page Flipper. Ends March 2
March's first contest from Juciliciousss Reviews. Ends March 7
Homemade bookmarks from The Literate Housewife. Ends March 7
Chick Lit prize from Unmainstream Mom reads. Ends March 8
M Giveaway from Bookin With Bingo. Ends March 8
Kitty and The Midnight Hour from Drey's Library. Ends March 8
Drey's culture pack from Drey's Library. Ends March 8
Everyone is Beautiful from Write For A Reader. Ends March 8
Lessons in Heartbreak from Write Meg. Ends March 8
Atonement from Thoughts of Joy. Ends March 8
The Edge of Winter from Thoughts of Joy. Ends March 8
Rampant from Presenting Lenore. Ends March 8
scholastic 39 Clues Prize Pack from Brimful Curiosities. Ends March 9
Cycler from Mrs. Magoo Reads. Ends March 9
Riding the Universe from The Shady Glade. Ends March 9 (extended a week)
Speak from Presenting Lenore and Reviewer X. Ends March 12
Neverwhere from Cupcake Witch. Ends March 13
How to Ditch Your Fairy from Steph Su Reads. Ends March 15
In Too Deep from The Book Vault. Ends March 15
Fairy Tale Blues from the epic rat. Ends March 15
Sophomore Switch from Cupcake Witch. Ends March 17
Circle of Friends from The Book Muncher. Ends March 18
Mineral makeup from Something Snappee. Ends March 18
Alexa Young Giveaway from In Bed With Books. Ends March 18 (Winners announced March 25)
Melissa Walker gift bag from In Bed With Books. Ends March 18 (Winners announced March 25)
Tantalize from In Bed With Books. Ends March 18 (Winners announced March 25)
Vidalia in Paris from In Bed With Books. Ends March 18 (Winners announced March 25)
Wherever Nina Lies from In Bed With Books. Ends March 18 (Winners announced March 25)
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone from In Bed With Books. Ends March 18 (Winners announced March 25)
She's So Money from In Bed With Books. Ends March 18 (Winners announced March 25)
Jennifer Banash giveaway from In Bed With Books. Ends March 18 (Winners announced March 25)
Linda Gerber giveaway from In Bed With Books. Ends March 18 (Winners announced March 25)
Beth Kephart giveaway from In Bed With Books. Ends March 18 (Winners announced March 25)
James Patterson giveaway from Bookin With Bingo. Ends March 20
Wintergirls from Presenting Lenore. Ends March 20
Twilight DVD Release giveaway from Korianne Speaks. Ends March 21
Peace love and Baby Ducks from Sharon Loves Books and Cats. Ends March 22
Blogiversary giveaway from Ramblings of a Texas Housewife. Ends March 25 (winners announced on 27th)
True Believer from At Home With Books. Ends March 29
Women's history month giveaway from Drey's Library. Ends March 31
YAY for YA Spring Giveaway from Keri Mikulski. Ends April 30
Wish You Were Here from Harmony Book Reviews. No End Date Listed

Uglies by Scott Westerfield


Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Synopsis from B&N

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.



This book was amazing! I had read a lot about the series and while they seemed interesting I never really felt the pull to read them that I often get with books. Boy, was I wrong. This book is fabulous and I am going to the library as soon as I am done to get Pretties.



Westerfeld has created a whole new world and amazing characters. Tally desperately wants to be pretty and can't wait for her sweet sixteen when she will have the surgery but of course things never work out that easily. Her story just gets more compelling when she leaves the safety of her city and heads to the Smoke where people live without all the futuristic help, basically like we live now.


I loved that they keep magazines and things from Rusties (us) as artifacts and that they think the way we live and idolize the celebrities in the magazines is ridiculous. It is a great futuristic world without being unbelievable.


The book ends on a giant cliffhanger so I really have to go get the next one because I loved it and I need to know what happens. Go read it. Right now.



Favorite quote: While Tally and Shay are looking at old magazines.

"They're sports stars, actors, artists. The men with the stringy hair are musicians, I think. The really ugly ones are politicians and someone told me the fatties are mostly comedians."



This book counts toward my Library Challenge and First in a Series



Other Reviews: leave a link in the comment if you have reviewed this book


Melissa's Bookshelf

Musing Mondays - the library

Musing Mondays is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about the library…

How often do you visit the library? Do you have a scheduled library day/time, or do you go whenever? Do you go alone, or take people with you?

I try and get to the library at least once a week, if for no other reason than to have something for my Library Loot posts.

In all seriousness I do actually try and go once a week because I usually have something to return and I always like to check out what is new. I tend to go on Tuesdays because that is the night that everyone else in my house works late so I have some time to kill. My sister tends to go with me even though she usually just sits in the car despite my urging to go in.

Even though my library is really small with a somewhat limited selection they are great about getting books though inter-library loan for me and they have great events like book sales every once in a while. I am also very broke so it is great that they are willing to work with me so much because I really can't afford to be buying all the books I want to read, what with college loans to pay back and having very little income.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Zombies are Coming! Let's Party!


The wonderful Amanda Ashby is having a zombie-tastic blog party to celebrate the release of her book Zombie Queen of Newbury High. So head over to her blog for the party! Seriously go, because you don't want the zombies mad at you.

And here is an amazing video filled with reasons to run to the blog party!

In My Mailbox

"In My Mailbox" was started by The Story Siren. See her blog for more details.

Since I like doing Library Loot also, In My Mailbox will only contain things I actually get in the mail or buy in the store.

thankfully this was a light week...not that there aren't a bajillion books I wished had come in my mailbox...but my TBR pile is out of control so only getting two books was a blessing in disguise. Gives me a little room to catch up.

The Year of the Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty from Bookmooch

The Ashbury-Brookfield pen pal program is designed to bring together the two rival schools in a spirit of harmony and "the Joy of the Envelope." But when Cassie, Lydia, and Emily send their first letters to Matthew, Charlie, and Sebastian, things don't go quite as planned. What starts out as a simple letter exchange soon leads to secret missions, false alarms, lock picking, mistaken identities, and an all-out war between the schools--not to mention some really excellent kissing.

This is the book with the oops, but I am still really excited to read it.

House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo
from Cornhusker Academy

Dream house . . . or bad dream? When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land. But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into--as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house. They soon discover there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school. Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places--in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.



I also got my signed bookmark from Sarah MacLean for taking part in her picture taking contest. I love it to pieces and would gladly show you a picture but my camera is still in the bottom of my bag I haven't unpacked from last weekend. But thanks Sarah!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Weekly Geek - Character Interviews

Character Interviews
This week we are going to continue with the theme started last week and go even further exploring our favorite book characters.

Many of us have had an opportunity to interview an author, mostly through email, but perhaps even on the phone or in person. In fact, many of you have become experts at author interviews. So this week, let's pretend that we can get in contact with one of our favorite characters and interview them. What would you ask Mr. Darcy if you could send him an email. What would his answers be like? What would you say if you could just call up Liesel or Rudy from The Book Thief and ask them anything? How would they answer your questions? What if you could invite Jo March or Anne Shirley to lunch, what would the conversation be like?

So blog about that imagined conversation, or phone discussion, or email exchange. Of course, there may be lots of things we'll have to make up or imagine them saying. But many things we should be able to figure out their answers just from what we know of them in their respective books.


Ok, so while I love Weekly Geeks I am having a little trouble with this one. If it was just to come up with questions for my favorite character that would be fine, I have a thousand questions and I immediately wanted to do Kinsey Millhone from Sue Grafton's alphabet series. But here is where my problem started. As much as I love the character and know all that I can from reading the series, in my opinion only the author can speak on behalf of the character. Especially in the case of Kinsey because Grafton is still writing the series and she refuses to release the series to Hollywood because she doesn't want the character interpreted by any one else. So out of respect for that I gathered some of my favorite character interviews done by the author and I will link to them. Hope you understand my reasoning and enjoy!

Here is the interview with Sue Grafton where she explains why she won't release Kinsey to Hollywood, and therefore, why I won't pretend to know the character's answers to anything.

Presenting Lenore did an interview recently with A.S. King, author of Dust of 100 Dogs, and the character Saffron.

The Book Muncher did one with A.S. King and the character Emer Morrisey

This is a really cool case where author Micol Ostow created blogs for her characters in the Bradford Novels.

Here Micol also created a back to school playlist for her character Jeremy

This is a fun interview between Micol's MADISON TAKAHASHI and Melissa Walker's character Violet

I know there are more out there but these are the ones I could find. Hope you enjoy! and I can't wait to read everyone elses interviews.

Even the pros make mistakes

So last week the wonderful Alea over at Pop Culture Junkie (seriously, go check her out, she rocks) posted about her copy of The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty and the misspelling on the binding. Well I got my copy from Bookmooch today and mine is also misspelled. Oops. I can't wait to read this book anyway but for anyone who has a copy did they catch the mistake before it got to you? Assignments vs. Assigments?


Friday, February 20, 2009

G is for Gumshoe


G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton


My love affair with Kinsey Millhone continues. I think I have a serious girl crush on her. In G is for Gumshoe Kinsey is celebrating Cinco de Mayo, her new apartment (because the other one was blown to bits) and her 33rd birthday. Although her celebrations are short lived because someone has taken out a hit on her. It is from an old case, and not one from any of the previous book, but I guess Kinsey made someone very mad because there is a very serious attempt on her life and it forces her to hire Dietz, another private eye, as a body guard. And you know sparks fly.

But of course, Kinsey has her own case to work on. This is where the novel got a little confusing for me. She is helping a woman who is very sick, although for no reason any one can figure out, track down her mother, who is also very sick for no reason any one can figure out. When she finds the mother it doesn't seem like there is more to it but of course there it. What unravels next plays such a back seat to the threat on Kinsey's life that I found it confusing and it took me a while to wrap my brain around it.

Not my favorite in the Alphabet Series but I love the relationship between Kinsey and Dietz and while the end of the novel makes it seem like the relationship ended I can't wait to see if he reappears. Also, because Kinsey is such a loner, her apartment, car and gun feel like real characters in the novels and her car was totalled in the book so I want to know what she replaces it with.

Cover Story: So I usually just post the covers with the letters on them because I think they are simple and I enjoy them. But I also love the original cover for G is for Gumshoe because, like I said, the car has felt like a character in the previous books. Which one do you prefer?

This book counts toward my Library Challenge

The Perfect Fifths Contest Within A Contest

The fifth and final book in the Jessica darling series by Megan McCafferty comes out in hardcover on April 14th BUT is available for pre-order now. And in honor of that McCafferty held a book trailer contest. Here are the three lucky winners of that.

Georgette from Georgia!

Mallory from New York!

Paige from Missouri!

Now Megan is giving away three more ARCs so go check out her blog for more details. But hurry! This ends today at noon!

And if you are curious my review for the first Jessica Darling book, Sloppy Firsts, is up here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bloomability


Bloomability by Sharon Creech

Synopsis from author's website
Thirteen-year-old Domenica Santolina Doone (better known as Dinnie) is whisked away from her family ("kidnapped," as she refers to it) and taken to a boarding school in Switzerland by her Uncle Max and Aunt Sandy. Although she does not want to be in Switzerland and does not want to be away from her family, she gradually comes to love this new place with its people who've come from all over the world.

I have really mixed feelings about this book. Some of my very best friends have told me how much they loved this book so I was going in to it with very high expectations and while I really enjoyed it I would not put this on my list of favorite books. And then I realized that if I had read it when I was 13 I would have loved it and it would be on my list of favorites.

Dinnie doesn't have it easy; her father moves the family often in search of "an opportunity," her brother is constantly in trouble and her sister ends up pregnant. All of these things combine to allow Dinnie to go with her mother's family to Switzerland for her own opportunity. While the book lacks any real plot there is a story there. Her dream journal entries, letters from home and her observations about people at school give the book a real life feel without a structured plot. It also felt really genuine because these are kids dealing with real issues faced by 13-year-olds but they handle them with the innocence of kids that age.

I think Creech did something really unique with this text and I wish I had read it when I was younger. I recommend you give it to any 13-year-old girl you know.

Favorite quote: "What you said sounded more Italian if you sliced the air with your hands as you were saying it. Your whole body could help the words - the flip of your hands, the jerk of your head, the crossing of your legs."

*edited to add - it just seemed to fit*
"There is no reason why the same man should like the same books at eighteen and at forty-eight." ABC of Reading - Ezra Pound

How to Hook a Hottie


How to Hook a Hottie by Tina Ferraro

Synopsis from Amazon
At 17, Kate Delvecchio has one goal in life: to become a millionaire before the age of 20. And as far as she’s concerned, college will only slow her down. Unfortunately for Kate, the one thing her parents do agree on is that they totally disagree with her strategy. And so the deal is born. If Kate can raise five thousand big ones by graduation day, her parents will hand over the balance of her college account to invest as she pleases. No college, no degree, and no way she’ll ever be able to pull it off. But when Kate accidentally agrees to go to the sports banquet with the hottest guy at school, she stumbles upon a possible cash cow. The rest of the junior class is amazed that no-nonsense Kate could hook such a hottie, and one by one they approach her for help hooking their own. She doesn’t know anything about getting guys, but for $100 a pop, she’s more than willing to invent a six-step plan for How to Hook a Hottie. And how could that possibly backfire?


Was this book predictable? Yes, right down to the very last sentence.
Did I enjoy it? Yes, right down to the very last sentence.

Ferraro isn't reinventing the wheel with this book but she made me smile, she made me laugh and she made me want to keep reading. Kate is a like able character whose plot line is predictable and yet I really didn't mind. I wanted to keep reading anyway. I liked her voice and her intelligence. I really enjoyed the relationship between Kate and her best friend Dal, obviously the guy she really likes. And the time Kate spends with the 12-year-old she babysits leads to the greatest reward at the end of the novel. I can't even come up with anything I didn't like, it was a fun book that I read in one sitting.

This book counts toward my Library Challenge

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Best Friend Guest Review - Slam by Nick Hornby

I convinced my best friend, JTR, to write a guest review for Slam by Nick Hornby which she just finished. So leave her lots of love and encouragement so she will come back for more reviews. In anticipation of her doing more I am going to call this the first of many Best Friend Guest Reviews. I even made her a pretty button to encourage her return. It is the two of us in front of the Alice In Wonderland statue in Central Park because where else would two bookworms stop for a picture?


There’s a reason the film “Juno” was named after the teenage mother and not the baby’s father. It may be unfair, but generally when it comes to teenage pregnancy it is the mother who gets the support, the attention and even the blame. This is why I think I was so put off at first by Nick Hornby’s latest novel, Slam.

This tale of teenage pregnancy is told from the perspective of Sam Jones, a 16-year-old English boy who may have a future in art and design but is currently more interested in skating and Tony Hawk. When Sam finds out his first real girlfriend Alicia, who he dumped a month earlier because of waning interest, is probably pregnant with his child, he completely freaks out and runs away to Hastings. However, his foray into starting a new life only lasts one night and he soon returns home, but is still too cowardly to call Alicia or tell his mother.



I neglected to mention that Sam’s decision to run away came after talking to his Tony Hawk poster, who he then fast-forwarded him a year into the future to see what life with Alicia and his son Roof would be like. It’s an odd plot device that would probably mean more if I cared more about Tony Hawk and skateboarding culture. I couldn’t ever really connect with this aspect of the novel and found myself wanting to skip over these frequent conversations.



The novel redeemed itself for me with its discussion of teenage pregnancy. In his attempt to deal with his situation, Sam, whose mother had him as a teenager, shares many entertaining statistics and insights into how teenagers end up having babies. And despite his initial freak out, Sam comes to accept his impending fatherhood. It is fascinating to see him and Alicia grow together and than back apart as they try to prepare and deal with having a baby.



Hornby’s wit is unparalleled and with his trademark plethora of pop culture references serves to bring this story to life. This is his first “young adult” novel, but the humor and style fits right in with the rest of his works. While not my favorite of his books (I would recommend A Long Way Down, a morbid yet hilarious tale of four drastically different people’s similar struggles with suicide.), Slam was an easy, satisfying read great for my daily commuting.



My favorite quote: After Sam’s mom finds out about the pregnancy:

“The first thing Mum said when they’d all gone was, “Do you think it’s just bad luck? Or are we stupid? … I couldn’t really tell whether I’d been stupid or not. Probably I had. One thing it doesn’t say on the side of a condom packet is WARNING! YOU MUST HAVE AN IQ OF A BILLION TO PUT THIS ON PROPERLY!”

Melissa Walker rocks my socks



Seriously, she does. I love her blog. And the first two books in the Violet Series, Violet on the Runway and Violet by Design are sitting in my TBR pile since I got them just last week. (I'm a little behind the curve on this one.)

I am also in love with I Heart Daily which everyone should check out.

Walker is giving away a copy of Erin Dionne's Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies so head over and enter!

Mari Mancusi is also having a contest for posting the video. More rocking of my socks happening.

Library Loot - week 5

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by A Striped Armchair and Alessandra that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

This week I picked up two new books.
How To Hook A Hottie by Tina Ferraro
I know I am way behind the curve on this one because I haven't read any of her books but I promise I am trying to catch up!

And as always the next in the alphabet series.
H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton


What did you pick up this week?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One Month Blogiversary!


Holy WOW! I could hardly believe it when I just realized today this blog is a month old. And since I realized at 11 p.m. I almost missed it altogether. To think it all started one night when I decided to keep a private list of all the books I read. I had no clue at the time that there were tons of book bloggers out there and that this whole community existed with bloggers and authors and book lovers. I never thought anyone but me would read this but there are people who keep coming back and I love you all for it.

So as much as I would love to do a giveaway or something fun I just can't at the moment. However, there will be some coming soon...I promise! I just got a waitressing job TODAY so yet another reason to celebrate and hopefully the income will allow me to host a contest and ship books.

Instead just stop and say hi! Tell me what you like, what you don't like, any suggestions you have or anything that tickles your fancy. I will share some awesome stats with you, courtesy of google analytics!

In just one month Kiss My Book has had
1,092 visits from
582 visitors coming from
34 countries and
45 out of the 50 United States
(ok this is a really silly personal goal. I want to get a hit from all 50 states! so if you know someone who lives in Alaska, New Hampshire, Vermont, North Dakota or Wyoming send them my way!)
I also have an amazing 27 followers!

Also because I really am addicted to my google analytics map that tells me what countries people are viewing from leave me a comment letting me know where you are viewing from. And if you aren't a follower through blogger but have me in your google reader let me know. I am just curious who is out there.

Happy Blogiversary! Thanks for stopping by!

The Other Side of the Story


The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes

synopsis from author's website
Jojo Harvey is a literary agent whose star is on the rise. In love with both her married boss and her burgeoning career, not much distracts her. Until she finds herself representing two women who used to be best friends. One of them, Gemma, has suddenly found herself from a broken home - at the age of thirty-two. Meanwhile, Lily - the woman Gemma has always blamed for stealing her one chance of happiness - is enjoying the overnight success of her debut novel. Set in the world of publishing, 'The Other Side of the Story' is about love, loyalty, glass ceilings and survival tactics - and what to do when you get your chance for revenge.

This book tells the story of three women, all connected through the book publishing world and of course, men. It changes perspective so we get each woman's story from them.

It starts with Gemma who's boyfriend left her for her best friend, her father left her mother and her job is to plan parties for the rich and fabulous who are less than easy to please. I found her story the least engaging but still funny. The emails she writes to her friend Susan in Seattle are hilarious as she spins incredible (and false) stories of her mother's new younger boyfriend and her father's miserable life with his much younger girlfriend. In her father's case the much younger girlfriend is true, but he doesn't seem miserable at all. My problem is that it seemed like a stretch that she would have to move back in with her mother and put her entire life on hold because her father left. Would your mother actually make you put your job on hold if your father left?

Up next was Jo Jo who I absolutely loved. She is a book agent who is curvy and fabulous and having an affair with her married boss. She ends up representing both Gemma and Lily who have a history despite now living in separate countries. She is fighting to make partner and beat out the slimy Richie Gant. I loved that she makes mistakes and tries to take the high road in her relationship even if it is with her married boss. It was a different take on the affair story too, Mark is the one pushing to make the relationship legitimate. That is right, he actually wants to leave his wife and Jo Jo is keeping him at arms length. I really liked the end of her story because she really does screw up and have to pick up the pieces in both her personal and professional life.

Lily lives in London with the love of her life, Anton, and her daughter Ema and she has best selling book. The problem: Lily is wrecked with guilt because Anton used to be the love of Gemma's life and she can't seem to write a second book. Her story line constantly made me sad but I really felt for her and always wanted to know what was going to happen to them. And I desperately wanted for her to have a happily-ever-after ending. But you will have to read it to know if she did.

This book made me really appreciate a happy ending and true to its title really points out that there are two sides to any story. I did feel the book lasted a little too long. With about 100 pages remaining I was ready for it to wrap up and be over. Overall, it was a good book. I am not sure I would really recommend everyone run out and read it but I would read more books by Keyes.

Favorite quote: "I tried to explain that I hadn't given up, merely reshuffled my priorities, but I didn't do a very good job of it, probably on account of being banjoed out of my head on free pina coladas. But it didn't matter. Happiness means not having to be understood."

This book counts toward my Library Challenge

Angel's Blood release party


ANGELS' BLOOD releases March 3rd! Plus on February 24th, you can get an advance taste of this world in ANGELS' PAWN, a special electronic release!
And to celebrate Nalini Singh is have a great contest on her blog with tons of prizes. So head over and check it out and of course run out and grab the book or preorder it now. Don't you just love the convenience of Amazon?

Teaser Tuesday - The Other Side of the Story

Teaser Tuesday asks you to:

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

"I reckon she knows all about you," Andy said. "She's had you followed and was sending you a message with the jacket. Good job you don't have a rabbit."
pg 331 of The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes

Monday, February 16, 2009

GO NU!

So every once in a while I break in with a little something non book related. And it is usually Northeastern sports related. See examples here and here. And this is just too cool to not share. Our men's basketball team made SportsCenter's Top 10 plays. Watch number 8 to see Chase Allen's behind the back pass to Matt Janning for the dunk! So proud that they made SportsCenter!
GO HUSKIES!

Valentine's Day Challenge


My Favorite Author is having a challenge
!
I challenge all of our readers to think of 5 (or more) books they are looking forward to reading that will be released in 2009 and then look up those books in your library catalog (most are online these days, so you don't even have to leave your house). If the title isn't listed, submit a request to your library to add the book to their collection. It's different for every library, but for my library there is a link on the main page where I can submit the request online. All I need is my name, library card number, book title and author.

If you participate you will get extra entries in the drawing so get on it!

My library is very small and doesn't get many new books right away so I ended up putting in requests for all of them. I have put in requests before and never had much success but I am nothing if not persistent.

The Season by Sarah MacLean
Evermore by Alyson Noel
The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King (Even though I already own it. I just want everyone else to read it!)
Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne
Pretty In Plaid by Jen Lancaster....just thinking about being close to the May release date for this book makes me weak in the knees. Lancaster is a comic genius!
You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay
Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

I think I may have just littered their inbox too much but oh well. What books are you excited about for 2009?

Musing Mondays - Reviews

Musing Mondays is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about book reviews…
Do you read any non-blogging book reviews? If so, where (newspaper, library etc)? Do you have any favourites sources you'd like to share?

I do get most of my book reviews from other bloggers but I also get them from Goodreads and Amazon. I also sometimes check the reviews and Barnes and Noble to see if they are different from Amazon.
The best reviews come from other people though so I love when one of my friends tells me about a book and I always check out the employee recommendations shelf when I am in a book store. I don't think I have ever really read book reviews in a newspaper, I've always relied on word of mouth.
How do you get your reviews?


In My Mailbox

"In My Mailbox" was started by The Story Siren. See her blog for more details.

Since I like doing Library Loot also, In My Mailbox will only contain things I actually get in the mail or buy in the store.

It was a good week for me, and what made it even better was that I was gone for a few days so I came home to a full mailbox of happiness!

I got Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips from Find Your Next Book Here and I really love the cover of this book. I can not wait to read it.


Off The Record by Jennifer O'Connell from Bookmooch
Bloomability by Sharon Creech from Bookmooch
To My Senses by Alexandrea Weis from Diary of an Eccentric

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Violet on the Runway and Violet by Design by Melissa Walker
Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
Social Climbers by Beth Dunn from Efron Freak
The Red Siren by M.L. Tyndall from Camy Tang
American Rust by Philipp Meyer from Goodreads

Ok so it was a VERY good week and I have lots of reading to do! What did you get this week?

Lets make friends...and win books

Ok folks, I am back from my little vacation. Which was amazing and I am trying to get caught up on posts and emails and what not. So here is a little something to hold everyone over until I am all caught up. Another chance to win books and of course make lots of friends! So go make friends and tell Melange I sent you of course!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weekly Geek - What's in a name?

What's in a Name?

For this week's edition of Weekly Geeks, we're going to take a closer look at character names. What are some of your favorite character names? Go to Google or a baby name site like this one or this one, and look up a favorite character's name. What does their name mean? Do you think the meaning fits the character? Why or why not?If you'd like, look up your own name as well and share the meaning.

I love character's name when they mean something or reveal something more about the character's personality and I think there is no one who does this better than J.K. Rowling. All of the names of her characters truly relate to their personality. I once read one of those all about Harry Potter books and it went through every name and detailed what it meant and how it related and it was very interesting. Here are just a few that I could find.

Neville Longbottom: Neville means "new town." Longbottom is a comical name, perhaps suggesting this bumbling student is chubby or has a "long bottom" that trips him up.

Draco Malfoy: Draco is from the Latin word for dragon. Malfoy is from the French, mal foi, "bad faith."

Rita Skeeter Rita is a nickname form of Margarita, related to Margaret, from Greek margaron, or "pearl." Skeeter is American English slang for a mosquito. This females of this insect are well-known for their annoying habits of buzzing around the head and sucking blood, which they need to lay their eggs. Some people also like to call news reporters "bloodsuckers."

Obviously it is easier to make these matches as a writer because you already know the character but sometimes it works out in real life that a person's name matches them. This is the case with me.
Erika - Ever-powerful
Lynn - Cascade, waterfall
People who know me well know how well this name fits me. I have a very strong personality and the joke is watch out or get drowned by the powerful waterfall. Also I have noticed that Erika's in movies and tv shows are always the bad girl and well...a little bitchy...so it really does fit.

Also if I had been a boy I would have been Salvatore Joseph Michael Carrubba V...yes I would have been a fifth...
Salvatore - Savior
Joseph - God Adds
Michael - Who is Like God
It's really a good thing I wasn't a boy because this doesn't seem to fit me at all. My father is Salvatore Joseph Michael and my uncle, his twin brother, is Joseph Salvatore Michael and I don't think it really fits either of them. But I suppose they were just given good religious names as was custom at the time.

So what's in your name?

Friday, February 13, 2009

A little Valentine's Vacation post

So I am on a mini-vacation for the weekend in Virginia Beach. Two of my best friends from high school drove five hours to my house in PA from NY yesterday. Then we drove another 7 hours to Virginia Beach to visit another friend we went to high school with. He is in the Navy and living in VA Beach so we are crashing his apartment this weekend. And let me tell you how much he loves having three girls visit him for Valentine's Day. So I probably won't be posting much until I get back on Monday so I though I would leave you with this fun giveaway from Gena Showalter's Weblog:


To help promote her new book The Vampire's Bride she is giving away a $25 Barnes and Noble giftcard and as well as one book from her backlist (your choice) to someone who blogs about her book! Sounds good to me. So head over and check it out.


Talk to you all in a few days! And have a great Valentine's Day!

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