Archive | April, 2012

Book Review: Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser

30 Apr

Book cover for Pieces of Us by Margie GelbwasserTitle: Pieces of Us

Author: Margie Gelbwasser

Genre: Contemporary YA

Publisher: Flux

Release date: March 8, 2012

Challenge: Completely Contemporary Challenge

Source: NetGalley

Summary: Every summer, hidden away in a lakeside community in upstate New York, four teens leave behind their old identities…and escape from their everyday lives.

Yet back in Philadelphia during the school year, Alex cannot suppress his anger at his father (who killed himself), his mother (whom he blames for it), and the girls who give it up too easily. His younger brother, Kyle, is angry too—at his abusive brother, and at their mother who doesn’t seem to care. Meanwhile, in suburban New Jersey, Katie plays the role of Miss Perfect while trying to forget the nightmare that changed her life. But Julie, her younger sister, sees Katie only as everything she’s not. And their mother will never let Julie forget it.

Up at the lake, they can be anything, anyone. Free. But then Katie’s secret gets out, forcing each of them to face reality—before it tears them to pieces.

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In My Mailbox (25)

29 Apr

April 29, 2012

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren. It’s awesome. Every week, we all get a chance to tell everyone what new books we’ve gotten so that we can tell you guys and we can all drool and squee together! Huzzah for squees!

Lots of great stuff this week from all manner of places! Woot!

FROM NETGALLEY

Book cover for Timepiece by Myra McEntire

Timepiece: Hourglass #2 by Myra McEntire (June 12, 2012 from EgmontUSA). MORE HOURGLASS, MORE KALEB. Yes please! 

Book cover for One Moment by Kristina McBride

One Moment by Kristina McBride (June 26, 2012 from EgmontUSA). So, FOOT on the cover–not my favorite thing. But! This book sounds intense, mysterious, and thought-provoking, what with a girl trying to recover the memories of what happened the night her boyfriend jumped off a cliff–where they were standing together–and died. Secrets are revealed, y’all!

(Thanks SO MUCH, EgmontUSA!)

FROM THE LIBRARY

The Dark Hills Divide: The Land of Elyon #1 by Patrick Carman. Middle grade fantasy about a girl who goes to investigate a mysterious forest outside the walls of the city where she lives. Sounds SUPER. 

Fairy Tale Detectives: The Sisters Grimm #1 by Michael BuckleyThis series has been on my radar for ages, guys, because it’s a middle grade series about descendants of the Grimm brothers who investigate crimes INSIDE fairy tales. Seriously. 

Time Enough for Drums by Ann RinaldiSo, I’ve mentioned before that I NERD over the American Revolution. Tara from Hobbitses heard this wonderful news and told me that I MUST read this book. American Revolution? CHECK. BONUS?! It’s set in Trenton, NJ. FANTASTIC.

The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria ForesterAnother one from the backlist, friends. Also middle grade. About a young girl who can…wait for it…FLY, who gets sent to a special school for other kids with special gifts. 

The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh BaskinI actually already reviewed this one over at Bookalicious.org. It’s a really sweet, thoughtful story about a young girl whose mom is serving overseas in Iraq. 

Divergent: Divergent #1 by Veronica RothThe more I thought about this book, the more I WANTED IT. Also, I was hoping to reread before INSURGENT comes out next week, but ALAS. I forgot how HUGE it was. 

The Summer Series by Jenny Han. This is seriously one of the BEST, ANGSTIEST contemporary YA series, guys. I LOVE these books, and one of the most fraught, dramatic triangles ever. And, you know, CONRAD. SIGH. 

Lots of AWESOME this week, guys! Hope your mailboxes are AWESOME, too!

Book Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

27 Apr

Book cover for The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin WassermanTitle: The Book of Blood and Shadow

Author: Robin Wasserman

Genre: Mystery/Thriller YA, Contemporary YA

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Release date: April 10, 2012

Source: NetGalley

Summary: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

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Rewind and Review (5): I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You

26 Apr

Book cover for I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally CarterI’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1)

by Ally Carter

(First published April 6, 2006 by Hyperion)

I’ve been a fan of Ally Carter’s other series, Heist Society, for a little while now, mostly because I have a thing for thieves and professional criminals. There’s something SO EXCITING and dangerous and engaging about them. But I’ve also always loved spies–Alias was one of my favorite TV shows when it was on–for pretty much the same reasons. I think it’s amusing, actually, because both spies and thieves seem to exist outside of the law a little bit, in different ways, though. Or maybe it’s that they’re both trying to keep secrets that draws me to them. Whatever it is, I’d been wanting to read Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series for awhile, and this fabulous Rewind & Review meme gave me the opening I needed! THANK YOU, REWIND & REVIEW. 

I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU was lots of fun, guys. Cammie Morgan is a student at the all-girls Gallagher Academy in Nowhereseville, Virginia. The residents of the small town think that Gallagher is a super-exclusive reform school for screw-up girls. What the townspeople DON’T know is that Gallagher is actually a major, highly secretive school for the training of spies. BOOM. Cammie’s mom is the director, and also a spy. Cammie’s education at Gallagher, which is ramping up now that she and her friends are old enough to start taking Covert Ops classes, as well as Gallagher’s secret front are put in jeopardy when Cammie meets a boy from town who strikes her fancy. Action and sekrets follow!

So the thing I loved the most about I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU is the hardcore spy stuff. The little snippets of crazy spy equipment that graduates and staff at Gallagher have invented or are in charge of, the pointers and things that Cammie and her friends learn in Covert Ops class, like how to find out things by looking through trash. All that nerdy, secret passageway, having dinner conversations in Farsi so that the students will be fluent in tons of CRAZY languages stuff just pushed all of my geek buttons. Maybe that sounds like a small thing to appreciate the most in Ally Carter’s book, but there you have it. 

I don’t mean to give Cammie and the other characters short shrift, though. Because they’re awesome in their own ways. Cammie is smart and strong and wants to be able to experience a little bit of normal life. She sometimes was a little flat to me, but only sometimes. Josh, the love interest, is cute and sweet. It’s easy to see why Cammie is attracted to him. Not the swooniest guy, but adorable. And since we’re talking about Cammie and Josh, one of my constant gripes about Ally Carter’s books is the lack of kissing/serious swoonworthy moments. They just aren’t here, and I missed them a little bit in I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU. 

The rest of the characters were great, too. I LOVED Bex and Liz, Cammie’s best friends. And Macey, I can already tell, is going to be awesome. I loved all their personalities and their strengths. They all complement each other so well. The Covert Ops teacher is a total fox who is definitely keeping some awesome secrets that I can’t wait to hear about. The supporting characters in I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU were all great. 

Ally Carter’s first Gallagher Girls book was a fun, quick, really enjoyable story about a young spy who just wants to have a normal relationship with a cute boy. Alas, spies can’t seem to do anything normal, as evidenced by the fact that Cammie and her friends turn her dates with Josh into Covert Ops assignments. To be honest, this was clever for sure, but it sometimes made Cammie and Josh’s relationship seem a little dry. (You know, when they call him The Subject and her The Operative. Not so many butterflies.) But there’s some really great stuff coming up, I think. The ending was action-packed, and it opened LOTS of cans of worms, so I know that the drama isn’t going to let up! Woot!  

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Rewind & Review is an AMAZING new meme hosted jointly by two fabulous ladies, Ginger from Greads! and Lisa from Lisa Is Busy Nerding. This meme is all about mining your TBR piles and finding some long-lost gems (from 2010 or earlier) that you meant to read and somehow passed over. I KNOW, but it happens. Each month, each participant picks a few oldies but hopefully goodies to read, reviews ’em, and spreads the word. Huzzah!

Waiting on Wednesday (24): Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

25 Apr

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. I love it because it is basically a squee-fest where book lovers can choose one book that they are DYING to get their hands on. Check it out!

Kissing Shakespeare

by Pamela Mingle

Book cover for Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she’d like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he’s a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen’s really from. He wants Miranda use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright. 

Miranda isn’t convinced she’s the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it’s her only chance of getting back to the present and her “real” life. What Miranda doesn’t bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

So I personally love books that do the time-travel/historical fiction/romance kind of thing. THANK YOU, OUTLANDER. Pamela Mingle’s book has the added bonus of taking me back to 16th century England, where we get to meet Shakespeare. Sigh. I’m getting a Shakespeare in Love vibe from this summary, and that makes me very happy. Except maybe Stephen is the love interest? Anytime a summary tells me that the guy is “infuriating” it’s almost a dead giveaway, no? But then there’s the whole title about kissing SHAKESPEARE, so LOVE TRIANGLE! 

Anyway, KISSING SHAKESPEARE sounds like a really sweet, emotional, fun story, and I’m looking forward to it BIG TIME. 

KISSING SHAKESPEARE is coming out August 14, 2012 from Random House Children’s Books.