Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Audiobook Review : Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

  • Publisher : Simon & Schuster
  • Audio Book Length : 7 hours 1 min
  • Release Date : September 18th 2012

 Synopsis : Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge. KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend. LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.With an unlikely alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently...” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together

The Gist : On the small New England island of Jar Island, secrets, drama and betrayal are running rampant and at its center are three girls; Kat, Lillia and Mary. These unlikely friends are out for revenge, but what starts out as a way to get even soon becomes more than they can handle. All is not what it seems on Jar Island.

Jess' Takeaway

"Well that took a turn." is the one way I would describe this book, and I don't just mean the plot twists. Nothing is ever what it seems in this book. Han and Vivian ever so slightly take tropes associated with high school  and turning them around.

What really makes this book stand out for me is that this story isn't overtly focused on a romance. Finally a YA novel where the girls characters work together and take center stage over a typical boy meets girl romance.

As for the writing there wasn't a large attempt at trying to "sound like teenagers", instead it felt  nostalgic. They captured the everyday down and lows of being a teenager (picking prom dresses, winning high school football games, the over dramatics of being in a teen etc.)

What makes this novel a must read is  pitch perfect setting of Jar Island The mix of local color and lifestyle of the residents down to the local coffee shops and tourism made it seem so real. I literally Googled Jar Island just to see if it was a real place. (BTW it's not). I'm not a big contemporary (or is this comtep . . . ?)  reader but this book was exciting and devious. I couldn't wait to see what kind of trouble these girls were going to cause next.

Unfortunately the audiobook was kind of hit or miss. I loved how they used 3 different voices over but the recording sounded off. Mary's voice actor's recording sounded faraway and Kat's voice took a little getting used to.

Kat's Takeaway

Reminiscent of Pretty Little Liars and Mean Girls,  Burn for Burn is what happens when girls stop playing victim and start getting even. This is a different type of story.  As someone who reads a lot of contemporary and for me Burn for Burn was just okay. So much of the book was fueled on getting to the end, that there was no real sense of complete story. Like certain plot points were brought up, but never really resolved or discussed through the book.

I liked listening to this in audiobook form, and unlike Jess I actually like the narrator of Kat the best. I thought from the very beginning her voice had the perfect mix of attitude and snark with a dash of vulnerability

 All three narrators also did a great job of mimicking the other narrator's voices. One of my pet peeves is when a characters tone is so vastly different when a different narrator is speaking as them, so I think they handled this well. I'm  not sure why the audiobook sounded so strange at times, like Mary's narrator was far away or something, but now I'm beginning to think this was on purpose.

Overall, I thought the writing was good and Han and Vivian created a great sense of place in their writing. You can really feel the claustrophobia of having to live on a small island town and the kind of social issues it creates.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Audiobook Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

“We all laced together—a brothel madam, an English professor, a mute cook, a quadroon cabbie, and me, the girl carrying a bucket of lies and throwing them like confetti.” 
― Ruta SepetysOut of The Easy

  • Genre: Historical
  • Audiobook Length: 9 hour 51 minutes
  • Publication Date: February 12th 2013
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio / Philomel Books
Summary: It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.  She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test. When a book  opens with the line 'my mother's a prostitute' it is a sure sign this is something very different from the usual YA. Out of Easy is a historical novell that takes usto New Orleans' French Quarter in the 1950's. 

This book is one of a kind for me. I've noticed that even with the popularity of YA , most non-romance based historical novels with teenage girl narrators are either sold as adult or literay fiction. Just a few this year include She Rises by Kate Worsley , The Yonahlosee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani and  The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. It's actually kind of nice to see more historical books represented in the YA category

Our protagonist, 17-year-old Josie Moraine's life in 1950 isn't like the usual nostalgia we associate with the 50's.  With a flighty  prostitute for a mother, the only  parental figures in Josie's life are the strict hard as nails brothel madame,Willie Woodley and Cokie, the brothel's quadroon (mixed race) cab driver. Despite her upbringing Josie wants nothing more to attend a prestigious college in  New England, even if she is "salted peanuts" among all the "petit fours". But before she even begin to dream up a new life for herself a few events stand in her way; including a murder.

Throughout the story, Joise has some amazing character development as she deals with all the trials she is put through. Despite what challenges life has handed her she  has such a strong resolve to not be a working girl in the Quarter. Josie is accompanied by a great group of supporting characters. Sepetys side characters felt so authentic and each gave  a different perspective and take on the time.

Josie even has a few potential love interests in Patrick Marlowe, who works with her at the bookstore and Jesse Thierry, the leather-jacket-wearing-motorcycle-riding college student who calls her Motor City because he knows Josie was born in Detroit. But don't worry, there is no love triangle here. I think Patrick and Jesse are  used more to show two different sides of college boys in the 50's and don't necessarily compete for Josie.

This book touches on so many issues of class, identity, mental illness and of course prostitution in New Orleans. Sepetys talks about prostitution in this book in an way that isn't vulgar or inappropriate for YA. I can imagine the topic may be hard for someone to let a 14-year-old read, but Sepetys handles it in a smart way.  She does lean on the Hooker With a Heart of Gold at times, but keeps most of the discussion on the effects and representations of prostitution meaningful.

Lauren Fontgang is the perfect narrator for this audiobook, she hits all the Southern accents and New Orlean's drawl perfectly.Willie, the brothel mamdame is probably the strongest character in this novel and Lauren speaks life into her. I see on Audible that Lauren has over 250 audiobooks to her credit so she will definitely be a go to narrator for me in the future.

As with most historical fiction, I find myself in awe of the research Septeys puts into her novels, she has such an amazing approach to writing historical fiction. She visits the places she talks about, she spends time interviewing peopel and going through old news clips. Much of this book is based on the non-fiction book The Last Madame: A Life In The New Orleans Underworld by Christine Wiltz and Sepetys even went as far as to meet Wiltz and the pair have done book events together

This is a beautifully done audiobook--I didn't want it to end. Sepetys mixes a  historical and near literary writing narrative with all of the qualities of modern YA fiction creating an emotional and evocative story told by an expressive and talented voice narrator.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Sense List Vol. 21


  • The film based on Ransom Rigg's Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children has a  2015 release date. Tim Burton is attached.


On The Web

  • Looking for a new meme to join ? Bewitched Bookworms might have just the thing with 
    Super Six Sunday

Cover Reveals

Let The Storm Break by Sharon Messenger
Fragile Spirits by Mary Lindsay

Check out the lovely HarperTeen cover reveals at the Epic Reads Tumblr

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review : Half-Blood Jennifer Armentrout

  • Genre : Fantasy
  • Pages : 304
  • Publication Date : October 18th 2011
  • Publisher : Spencer Hill
Synopsis : The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery . . .

I know what you are thinking. How have I not read this book ? Jennifer Armentrout is probably every bloggers favorite author.

In 2011 Armentrout started off at two small presses (Spencer Hill and Entangled) , since then she has gained legions of fans and  plenty success to accompany it. She was one of  Entangled Publishing's first books to be produced in mass market papaerback  and the first Spencer Hill author published in hardcover.

Jennifer has seamlessly crossed the genre line writing  YA, New Adult and Adult Fiction. She recently signed a six figure deal with HarperCollins and has contracts with Harlequin and Disney/Hyperion.

And Half-Blood is the book that started it all.

This novel came out back when I first stared blogging in 2011 and Armentrout's take on Greek myths was a  nice change of pace from all the vampires and dystopia that was so popular.

Half-Blood establishes a world where the offspring of the Greek gods live in secret. There are the Pures, the elite class of pure demi-gods with god-like powers and the Half-bloods who are a lower caste of  half demi-god and half mortals.

Alex is a Half-Blood and  three years ago she and  mother left the protection of their home for reasons unknown to Alex. After her mother's death Alex is back home  and ready to take her place as a Sentinel, a protector of the demi-gods, but not all is what it seems.  

I liked how everything wasn't perfect for Alex and  how she rolls with the punches. She's not instantly good at anything and has to work to be as good as her classmates when it comes to Sentinel training. As a character her hand isn't  held and no one leads her to believe that "everything will be alright". 

As for the romance of the novel I was sort of  nonplussed, I mean I knew what to expect. Aiden  is a Pure and is of course the sexy older guy who is a  serious protector but also has a fun side. The forbidden relationship that starts between Alex and Aiden and Seth's role in the story did sort of spice up the romance but I don't know. . .  I'll have to see how this love-triangle like thing develops in the next book.

I liked the political going ons in the story; how the Half-bloods want to be treated like equals and what the discovery of an Apollyn ( a rare Half-blood with Pure powers) can do to elevate their cause.

I thought I had some idea what was going on with the plot but it took a few turns I didn't expect. The only thing I would have wanted from this book was a little  more non-romantic relationship building between the characters. Like a better understanding of Aiden's relationship with his brother Leon and more about the relationship between Alex and her Stepfather/Uncle

Compared to the other Greek Myth inspired series I have read Half-Blood was even paced and action-packed  .

Half-Blood has a semi-predictable plot, a great mythos and a few swoony male leads. The action and story buildup has me wanting  to read more so I will certainly be checking out Pure.

I found reading Daimon (the free e-noevlla ) before reading Half-Blood helps create a more complete story. I just really enjoyed the way it flowed together, I think they should put it in the book.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dealing With After : Miracle by Elizabeth Scott and Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

 It's time for another head to head book faceoff ! These two novels were ones I read months apart and just really didn't have much to say about. I wasn't even going to review them but, then I realized they dealt with the same issue; The After. What happens after a traumatic event that shakes not only our protagonist, but also a small town community.

  • Genre: Contemporary
  • Publisher: Flux
  • Pages: 303
  • Release Date: April 8th, 2007
Synopsis: Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.

Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 224
Release Date: June 5th 2012
Synopsis: Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.

Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

Meg is the lone survivor of a  plane crash and when she gets back to her small town of  Reardon she is suddenly the town miracle. Her parents and teachers think she can do no wrong, her little brother resents all of  her attention and everyone is treating her with kid gloves. Everyone wants to make her feel like everything is all right, but all Meg wants to do is pretend like it never happened.

One of the things that Elizabeth Scott does best in all her novels is create amazing characters. The residents of Reardon have great back story, interesting pasts and depth.You can understand what it is like to leave in this town. However, I wanted a bit more plot wise. Aside from watching the protagonist suffer from some post-traumatic stress,Meg doesn't really do much of anything through the story and there is nothing to keep you reading. I feel like I was reading a short story instead of a full length novel.

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

 Maggie is unable to walk after being  hit with a car by Caleb, her best friend's brother, who was drunk at the wheel. Now, a year later Maggie has lost all her friends and  walks with a limp, while Caleb is seemingly getting his old life back after serving a year in jail.

Despite the premise this book isn't very heavy and is told in a lot of quick short scenes. Many of the side characters in this felt like cardboard tropes cut from a high school drama like Kendra (the pretty, popular, blonde "slut") and Vic ( the bully on the other schools wrestling team). The characters line could get a little cheesy at times, but that aside I did like the sparse narrative writing style of the overall story. Each scene is only a few pages and time moves forward very quickly.

So, who did it better ?

It's kind of amazing how similar these stories are; both take place in small towns, both feature older women who act as guides, both girls were former star athletes, both feature boys who have been labeled outcasts by the others in town.

While Miracle has better characters and more atmospheric writing, Leaving Paradise ultimately tells a more dynamic story. Leaving Paradise gives us a better sense of the before  so we can understand why this change is such a struggle.Not only does Leaving Paradise have the victim, but also the person who made our victim a victim. Which leads to some interesting discussion of how you define a victim. Also, I think Leaving Paradise had a more interesting ending.

Either way, if you are looking for books about overcoming trauma and finding strength within yourself,  I suggest both of these titles.

 The "smexy" Simon and Schuster UK  E-book cover for Leaving Paradise infuriates me. WTF ? The character can't bend her leg  ! I mean that and the scarring on her legs is like a major focal point of this story  !

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday Vol. 13

I first heard about this book from the associate publicist a Bloomsbury, Bridget Hartzler at BEA  and it sounds amazing. A magic realism romance novel set in Paris ? Sounds awesome ! Plus, I really enjoy Art History so I think this novel will be right up my alley .

Release Date: Sept. 13 2013
Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.
The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can't help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world's greatest art . . . at the expense of the greatest love they've ever known.

What are you waiting on ? Let me know and I will stop by ! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Audibook Review : Between The Lines by Tammara Webber

"Fame is people screaming your name, loving you, hating you, all on a whim"
-Tammara Webber, Between The Lines

  • Release Date: November 15th, 2012
  • Genre: Contemporary
  • Hours: 8 hours 48 minutes
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio 

Synopsis:  Reid Alexander is used to getting what he wants – and what he wants next is his newest costar, Emma Pierce. The universe is lining up nicely to grant his wish, until he’s confronted with two unexpected obstacles on location: a bitter ex-girlfriend and a rival for Emma’s affections.
Emma Pierce just got her big break after years of filming commercials and made-for-TV movies. Winning the lead role in a wide-release film – opposite the very hot Reid Alexander – should be a dream come true. But Emma’s heart is hiding a secret fantasy: she wants to be a normal girl 

Emma's life changes when she is offered the starring role in the teen-flick, School Pride, a high school twist on Pride and Prejudice.  Her co-star ? The infamous Reid Alexander. Emma is thrown full force into a world of celebrity and notoriety where she finds herself entangled in new friendships and relationships. Soon she begins to wonder if any of it is what she really wants.

Between The Lines is one of those drama heavy relationship novels. Emma is juggling two guys; Reid, the arrogant Hollywood starlet who lives his life with no apologies and Graham, the indie film star who wants to help Emma achieve her dreams.

The plot just fell flat to me and  I found myself zoning out at times. This book was like watching The Hills or a reality TV show where all the characters do is go out to dinner, go to the club and then work for a few pages. There was no real sense of overall plot or direction. With all the Hollywood mayhem to take inspiration from the novel seemed lacking.

I bought  this book for the narrator, Todd Haberkorn, who is one of my favorite anime voice actors. I know some people dislike his voice (it's kind of nasally) but I really liked him in xxxHolic and D.Gray Man.

So, how did Todd Haberkorn measure up ? He did really well. He narrates Reid's voice in this playful way with a tinge of humor. With all the added exaggeration and sighs it was like Reid wasn't take anything he said seriously and everything was a big joke. I really liked that interpretation, it made him seem less angsty. However....

....I think Tara Sands, Emma's narrator, outshone Haberkorn. Emma as a character has a wider range emotions and there are points where she is speechless, in tears, emotional and  Sands interpreted the emotions masterfully. She made Emma really like able.

Overall this audiobook  has less than stellar story, but is elevated by some excellent voice narration. If you want a light, simple read then I suggest this book for you.  I'm interested to compare this to This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith which deals with some similar themes.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Sense List Vol. 20


  • First look at Theo James as Four in the film adaption of Divergent.


  • Another Romance author moves into the New Adult market. Kendall Ryan will be one to watch for fans of  NA fiction.

On The Web

Cover Reveals

Her Dark Curisoties (Madman's Daughter #2) (@YABC)
Warrior by Ellen Oh (Prophecy #2)  (@YABC)
A Little To Far by Lisa Desrochers 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book Review : Ink by Amanda Sun

"When the ink stopped being ink and started being. . . well, something else."
- Ink, Amanda Sun

  • Release Date : June 25th 2013
  • Genre : Urban Fanstasy
  • Page Number : 377
  • Publisher : Harlequin Teen

. . . And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine. 
 Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn't know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.
Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. . .Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive

At first glance Ink is your basic YA formula; teen girl in a new environment and a chance encounter finds her inexplicably drawn to the jerk whose personality changes could give you whiplash.

However, Sun freshens up the usual YA status quo by setting the story in Japan, giving the story a nice bout of culture and diversity. The setting gives readers a glimpse into how other people live without being "showcase-y" about it. There isn't an attempt to spoon-feed the reader, meaning Sun doesn't attempt to explain every nuance about Japanese life to the readers.

The first chapter of this novel will without a doubt pull you in. American Katie Green is an outsider living in Shizuoka, Japan with her aunt after the death of her mother. All she has to do is keep her head down until she can move in with her grandparents in Canada. 

Just as she starts to adjust, she glances one of  Tomorhiro Yuu  drawings, and to her surprise the drawing looks right back at her. As Katie tries to make herself at home in Japan she grows closer to Tomo and learns more about his mythical pull over ink. 

The connection between Katie Greene and  Tomohiro ebbs and flows like ink on a page. It's the ultimate story of the boy with the destiny and the girl who might get in his way . .  . or destroy him. The villains in this novel did fall a bit flat . Our heroes (so to speak) are these highly imaginative beings that I felt the villains would have stood out more if they weren't based so much in reality.

Ink isn't a true to form paranormal romance and I would categorize it more of contemporary/magical mash up. It's a slice of life story with a few mythical elements spread throughout. I'd be remiss not to say that this novel might appeal to fans of Anime. I spotted a few Japanses Media Tropes in the book;  the  No Koreans In Japan trope, the Kendo Team Captain and Katie is described as tying on a silk scarf so maybe Joshikousei ?

 Ink will make the perfect beach read this summer with its sizable romance, light paranormal elements and a story that runs off the page.

*Galley received from NetGalley

 I watched a few YouTube videos of Kendo, the sport Tomo and Katie participate in, and while it's not as cool  as Sun makes it sound you get a feel for what the Kiai yell is.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

  • Release Date: February 26th , 2013
  • Genre: Contemporary
  • Pages: 325
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (MacMillan)
Synopsis: Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under

 I was first made aware of this novel by the words of   John Green's glowing review in The New York Times; and now it seem this book is the talk of YA fans. Just Google the title and you will see pages of fanart and reviews.

 Eleanor and Park is a romance set to the backdrop of a working class town in Nebraska during the mid-80's. The novel explores our titular protagonists blossoming romance while dealing with themes of  poverty, self-image and marginalization.

Eleanor is bullied, overweight and doesn't fit the traditional standards of beauty. She lives in a tiny house that doesn't even have a door on the bathroom. She is packed in tight with her large family including a stepdad who terrifies her.  Park is self-conscious, unsure and kind of an outsider. While he has a group of friends, being the only half-Asian in his school still puts him on the outside.

Filled with 80's music, comic books and pop culture we get an intimate look as Eleanor and Park experience love for the first time.

I tried not to let the hype for this book into my reading experience, but overall I  really enjoyed reading this . It made me nostalgic  about the older YAs I read in high school like Don't You Dare Read This Ms. Dunphrey by Margaret Peterson Haddix or Crazy Horse Electric by Chris Crutcher. There isn't this sheen of beauty and fantasy to the character's lives

At it's heart, this novel is a romance, but it's  a slow burning romance. We see the entire spectrum of their relationship, it is a close and intimate perspective. Eleanor is exploring love and relationships for the first time and she explains how Park's Vulcan hand hold "paralyzed her with his ninja magic" and how "The world rebuilt itself into a better place around him."

 I don't think many YA writers are writing the kind of characters Rowell is. They are consistently imperfect, awkward, hopeless and don't have a picture perfect ending. And while we may see this a lot in our female characters it isn't very common in male characters.

I've seen some criticisms about how Rowell doesn't really explore the amount of racism Park may have experienced during that time period because his dad married a Korean woman he met while in the Korean War. I do wish Rowell had sort of expanded on Park's relationship to his mother. His mom abandoned her family and cultural identity to become his father's wife and I think it would have been interesting to see how Park relates to this.

I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to read a heartfelt YA romance that will stay with you long after the first page. I have two theory's on the ending of this novel and I just love a novel that keeps you thinking like that.

I am very excited to read Rowell's upcoming novel Fangirl and maybe even her adult novel Attachments.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Top Ten Moments from BookExpo America

This year we  focused on video so we could make a vlog about BEA. . . however with Kat's computer out of commission it might be a while so, here is our BEA coverage in list form !

1. BEA Bloggers Conference
We really enjoyed the BEA Bloggers conference this year more than last.  The sessions were separated  by YA and  Adult. This Ihelped make the conversation more tailored. It was awesome hearing some of our  favorite bloggers speak in person.  After the session on blogging platforms we might be ready to convert to Wordpress. . . maybe.

2. Teen Author Carnival
One of the highlights from Teen Author Carnival was hearing about how the cover of David Levithan's Two Boys Kissing was made. It was taken by a teenage photographer.

3. Meet N Greet (Jess)
This year I found myself meeting and chatting with more librarians/teachers than book bloggers. I even met a charter school principal who was going to use signed books and ARCs to encourage her kids to improve their test scores.

4. The Bloggers
We met so many great bloggers. Everyone was so nice and stylish ! Special shout outs to Ashling from Reading Writing and Anything But Arithmetic, Alyssia from Mocha Girls Reads, Emily from Love YA Lit, Asher from Paranormal Indulgence, Mandee from Vegan YA Nerds  Allison from Allison Can Read (who we meant to get a pic with) La'Mecia from Rotten Apple Reads and her sister Ta'Necia from Never Ending Stories and so many more !

5. Getting The Word Out There
Unlike last year, Kat and I made an effort to go to publishers we read the most and talk with publicist about Books and Sensibility.

6. Barnes and Noble's Union Square Penguin Signing.
Kat and I are big Sarah Dessen and Marie Lu fans so we had to go to the Penguin author event in Union Square ! We showed up late (I had to go to the ELF store and  had some Famous Famigila Pizza) but standing up in the back was the best seat in the house. Richelle Mead has so many fans so we had to skip over her. I've linked to  Marie Lu's fanart on her website and we asked her if she would draw something in the book.  I was expecting a logo or something instead she drew Day and June.

7. Holly Black
We went to the Holly Black signing and I told her how much I love the Curse Worker's audiobook and she said how surprised she was that t Jesse Eisenberg was willing to do the sequel audiobooks even though he was Facebook-movie famous.

8. The Food
New York City is the place for foodies. We didn't have time to try everything we wanted but we did try Korean fried chicken, Pinkberry (the New York ones are better than the DC ones) and ramen.

9. The Publicists (Kat)
A lot of the time the long lines at BEA are manned by people in the publications marketing or PR staff. While
waiting in line I got to chat with publicists about the books they were most excited about  and a few times they left their station to go and get me the galley we were just talking about. They were so awesome ! Siena, who works in publicity at Simon and Schuster had this cute Life's A Witch phone case !

10. Dr. Who Fans (Kat)
I whipped out myTARDIS phone case for BEA. It was a nice icebreaker for when I met Robyn Schnieder who is a big Dr. Who fan. One woman saw it and told me she and her husband incorporated a Dr. Who quotes into their wedding.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review : Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris + Giveaway

  • Release Date: April 24th, 2012 
  • Genre: Sci-Fiction
  •  Pages: 480
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins Children)
Synopsis: Two days before the start of her junior year, Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed--as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from school Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And though it isn't possible, she knows with every fiber of her being that Ben somehow brought her back to life.
But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something--but to what? . . .

Unraveling felt like reading an episode of the X-files. You start of with a seemingly normal town---in this case sunny San Diego--with normal people just living their lives when strange things begin to happen; burned bodies, a cryptic countdown, the mysterious Ben Michaels.

Instead of Mulder and Scully on the case, 17-year old Janelle Tenner (daughter of an FBI Agent) and her best (guy) friend Alex set out to put the pieces together.

Going in I had no idea what the plot twist or science fiction element of this book was and I found it to be quite creative. I haven't read another book that uses this particular science fiction element as a plot device.

I just think this book could have been 100 or more pages shorter.The storytelling in this novel goes off a bit before it gets back to focus. For a few pages it seemed more like a beachy contemporary novel. We don't really reach the focal point of the novel until about halfway, when the book goes in a more action packed sci-fi direction.

Janelle, our main character really stands out, she is an independent character without trying to hard. The older sister/younger brother relationship she has with her brother, Jared, allows her to be seen as  more mature and responsible. 

Like most YA books these days, I didn't like how after all of the other amazing  elements in this book that a sexual assault "plot point"was introduced. It just didn't fit in with the rest of the story. I think it was in there to villianize certain characters, but I think it could have been handled better. For a book that deals with  death and mental illness in such a touching and meaningful way this caught me off guard.

Unraveling is a true to form science fiction mystery novel with just a flare of romance and intrigue. It features a nicely crafted plot and while it stumbles a little in the storytelling it lands the ending perfectly.

If you haven't read Unraveling Here is your chance to check it our for yourself.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

#BEA13 Books We Are Most Excited About

Last week Kat and I made our second trip to BookExpo America. It was a great week of discussion, discovery and general book-loving. Going in we were excited about a lot books, but also discovered some amazing books coming out this year. Here are 6 Post-BEA novels we are now buzzing about !

Jess' Picks

Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta (October 2013 - Houghton Mifflin Books for Children)
The description of this novel on Goodreads  didn't really appeal to me, but after hearing Amy Rose Capeetta's editor discuss it at the YA Editor's Buzz panel I was ready to see how these two distant characters are entangled together across space.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (August 2013 - Bloomsbury USA)
I wasn't overly familiar with this adult fiction novel. It was featured in the Adult's Editor Buzz and I overheard tons of bloggers discussing how this was being marketed in a similar way to The Night Circus. I want to do more Adult Fiction so this is on the top of my list.

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender (September 2013- Scholastic)
There was a lot of talk at BEA about the mix of different genres and this novel serves as a historical, romance and paranormal novel. The editor described it as Anna and The French Kiss meets I Hunt Killers.

Kat's Picks

Wild Cards by Simon Elkeles (October 2013 - Bloomsbury)
I just finished Elkeles' Leaving Paradise and I really like her story telling. I wasn't aware she had a new book coming out and  the publicist at the Bloomsbury table were very excited for this book. She compared it to Friday Night Lights.

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrell (August 2013 - Disney Hyperion)
This book seemed to be the most buzzed about so keep your ears open ! This novel is about two very different girls, Em and Marina, time travel and  a relationship. After hearing both the editor and the author speak about this book I became very interested in it. Plus, Terrell is as NoVa author !

Cherry Money Baby by John M Cusick (September 2013 - Candlewick Press)
I saw this one on a table and was immediately interested in the cool contemporary feel of the cover. This is a contemporary from Candlewick and is about an ordinary girl named Cherry whose life collides with a Hollywood starlet.

Don't these books sound amazing ? Be sure to add them to your Goodreads to-read list and stay tuned for our reviews !


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