Saturday, March 31, 2012

In My Mailbox 18.

Books & Sensibility is taking part in the In My Mailbox meme started by The Story Siren. Each week bloggers post books that have arrived in their mailbox, picked up from the bookstore or purchased. Here are some books I'm getting ready to read.

These books were purchased during an author event last week. I wasn't familiar with all the author's there but each of their novels peaked my interest enough for me to want to check them out.

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kitteredge

In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.     Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave. 

Corsets & Clockwork

Dark, urban fantasies come to life in the newest collection of Steampunk stories, Corsets & Clockwork. Young heroes and heroines battle evils with the help of supernatural or super-technological powers, each individual story perfectly balancing historical and fantastical elements. Throw in epic romances that transcend time, and this trendy, engrossing anthology is sure to become another hit for the fast-growing Steampunk genre!This collection features some of the hottest writers in the teen genre, including: Ann Aguirre, Jaclyn Dolamore, Tessa Gratton, Frewin Jones, Caitlin Kittredge, Adrienne Kress, Lesley Livingston, Dru Pagliassotti, Dia Reeves, Michael Scott, Maria V. Snyder, Tiffany Trent, and Kiersten White.(

I won this from Stuck In Books. I haven't finished Delirium  but Kat has and was excited when this came. It got rained on a little but is in great shape !

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Tell us what is in your mailbox !

Shelf Candy Saturday : Born Wicked

Shelf Candy Saturday is a weekly meme hosted by Five Alarm Book Reviews. Shelf Candy Saturday showcases book covers, old or new, and gives some much deserved recognition to the designers who are responsible.  

The mischievous and whimsical photograph on the Born Wicked book jacket was taken by 19-year old French photographer Alexandra Sophie. 

Sophie says; One day, I realized that it didn't match with that world that I was imagining and dreaming about. I gave myself the mission to prove to the world that softness, love, innocence and dreams . . .A world that is not always easy to see, but that I try to show with my camera."  

Rumor has it that Sophie may be doing a photo shoot for the cover of Star Dust. (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2)

Sophie's photography has also been  featured on other book covers ,including Through To You by Emily Hainsworth.

Learn more about Alexandra Sophie and check out her photography at

Friday, March 30, 2012

Jess Joins Bloggiesta Ole !

March 30 - April 1

"Do you have things you’d like to do on your blog that you haven’t managed to get to in forever? Do you want to do those things with lots of other bloggers from all over? Talk things over with them? Bounce ideas off them? Learn from them? Teach them too? If so, you will not want to miss the latest installment of Bloggiesta! A blogathon created nearly three years ago by Natasha of Maw Books so we could do those very things listed above!"

This is a great challenge for me because I want to do some maintenance on the blog and I have so many books and reviews I need to get done ! If you want to join sign-up here !

Jess' To Do List
  • Update Goodreads
  • Update Netgalley
  • Meet other book bloggers !
  • Write reviews For :
    • Born Wicked
  • Finish reading :
    • Grave Mercy
    • Royal Street
I'll probably add more as I get into the weekend.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book Review: The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer

Synopsis: In The Pregnancy Project, Gaby details how she was able to fake her own pregnancy—hiding the truth from even her siblings and boyfriend’s parents—and reveals all that she learned from the experience. But more than that, Gaby’s story is about fighting stereotypes, and how one girl found the strength to come out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future for herself.

The Pregnancy Project first came on my radar in January, when I watched the Lifetime movie based on the book . I had never heard the story and how could it not peak my interest? A teenager who faked her pregnancy for a school project? What was that all about? While the movie was decent, it left me with more questions, so I headed to the library for the book.

Luckily, this memoir provides a concise and pretty powerful story of not just Gabby's struggles, but her family's struggles as well. This is the first book in a while I've actually had an emotional reaction too. 

To truly understand what Gabby did you have to learn the story of her mom who became a teen mom at 14 and was forced to drop out of school and into marriage with an abusive man who treated her like a maid. Her mother goes through a lot before she and her 8 kids are able to get back on their feet.

As Gabby says Teen pregnancy is something of an epidemic in her family, Gabby has 31 nieces and nephews. At one point in the book, Gabby notes her mom was single handly taking care of  4 generations of her family at once.

Gabby lives in Toppenish, Washington a place where 98% of the kids in her class are on reduced lunch. Though her project she discovers the hardships of teen pregnancy and the prejudices associated with it. I think she does a remarkable job of explaining the reality of teen pregnancy and what is so wrong with MTV's Teen Mom.

This was just a good book and pretty easy read, I read it in one sitting. I think it's a great intro to people who want to read non-fiction. 

With a movie and a book out, I hope Gabby is helping get herself through college and making her and her mom's life a little bit easier. They truly deserve it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Authors Talk to Teens @ Hooray For Books : Jessica Shea, Tifffany Trent and Caitlin Kitteridge

Hooray For Books, a children's book store in Alexandria, VA, hosted a teen author panel with Jessica Spotswood (Born Wicked), Tiffany Trent (The Unnaturalists, Corsets and Clockwork) and Caitlin Kitteridge (The Iron Codex, Corsets and Clockwork)

Here are some highlights from the event :

Jessica Spotswood, Born Wicked
  • The YA book she's most looking forward to is Bitterblue by Kirsten Cashore
  • The next book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles is called Star Cursed

Caitlin Kittredge, The Iron Thorn, Corsets & Clockwork

  • The YA book she's most looking forward to is Black Heart by Holly Black ! YAY !!
  • The next book in the Iron Codex series is called The Mirrored Shard
  • Counting her adult books, Caitlin has written 13 books ! 

Tiffany Trent,Corsets & Clockwork,  The Unnaturalists  (August 2012)
  • The YA book she's most looking forward to is Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  • Trent helped choose the model on the cover of the book. Isn't the cover is striking !
  • Trent doesn't like outlines, I guess she is a pantser

Jacklyn Dolomoere  was in the audience and she drew this picture next to her short story in Corsets & Clockwork ! Her novel Magic Under Glass is 2.99 on Amazon Kindle. 

The authors were funny and charming. We are  excited for The Unnaturalists to come out. A review of Born Wicked will be up soon. Hopefully next time i'll have a better grasp of using my camera phone !

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sense List Vol. 4

Welcome to The Sense List ! A feature on Books and Sensibility where we wrap up YA news and events. This feature was inspired by YA Highway's Field Trip Friday and Novel Thoughts This Week In YA 

Books & Movies

Book Marks

Cover Reveals

On Books and Sensibility
In Hunger Games We Jest : Hunger Games Humor
Book Review : Divergent by Veronica Roth

Friday, March 23, 2012

Book Review : Divergent by Veronica Roth

Synopsis : In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

When I first got back into reading YA, Divergent was everywhere. When I grabbed it for 6.00 at the used  book store, it just sort of sat on my shelf. However, after Divergent  won Favorite Book of 2011 at Goodreads and Story Siren's Best of 2011 Debut I knew I had to check it out.

Divergent has a unique concept. Tris and her family live in a peaceful Utopia where society is dived into factions which represent individual ideals Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peace), Abegnation (selflessness ) and Erudite (intelligence).

Every child is raised in their own faction , but when they turn sixteen they are tested to determine the best faction for them. They can  either choose to stay with their faction or leave it all behind to join another faction, never to see their families again.

Faction before family.

Tris soon finds herself on the other side of her quiet faction and in an adrenaline-filled, high altitude, high-risk world where she is forced to push beyond her limitations and finds the fearlessness within her. Through it all Tris also has a secret she has to guard with her life, or it could get her killed.

This story is a lot like a rigorous gym class, Tris and her compatriots go through the wringer of death-defying activities lead by their fearless leader and coach Four. While reading I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next.

I found Four to be an excellent YA male protagonist. We get a sense of who he was before and after meeting Tris and he isn't out to prove anything and he also isn't perfect. As the novel progressed I could see why a relationship would form between Four and Tris

There are a lot of characters in this story. I sometimes had a hard time keeping up with who all the male characters were, well except for Four because his name is Four. I also felt like the ending was very rushed, it was all a lot to grasp in the last few chapters.

This book had a slight twist or plot reveal that I thought was nicely placed. This novel doesn't start off as dark as the Hunger Games but it does get progressively darker, which in retrospect I didn't really see coming. The ending felt a little rushed but it's a great journey with a lot of suprises along.

Divergent is a great novel for Hunger Games fans, I can't wait to see how Insurgent devels further into the story and the world of Tris and Four.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In Hunger Games We Jest : Hunger Games Spoofs

Much like In Twilight We Jest we present In Hunger Games We Jest. After all It was bound to happen ! Hunger Games isn't the happiest story in the world, but real fans still find a way to make it fun. With just 3 days to go we have the top 3 Hunger Games video parodies

1.Hunger Games Trailer Spoof by Evil Iguana

I'm still laughing from Evil Iguana's Twilight parody from 4 years ago.The actors in this have great comedic timing and the Peeta is just perfect and hilarious.

The WernerSister Hunger Games Trailer Parody
They may not have high quality effects or cameras, but they create some pretty funny moments.

'I Wanna Go' Hunger Games Parody

 Who knew Britney Spears and Panem would ever crossover ?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Sense List Vol. 3

Welcome to The Sense List, a new feature on Books and Sensibility. We wrap up YA news and events that we took notice of during the week. This new feature is inspired by YA Highway's Field Trip Friday and Novel Thoughts This Week In YA

Books Turned Movies

  • Debut Author, Miranda Kennally announced that film rights to Catching Jordan have been sold to Nick Wechsler Productions, the same company working on Stephanie Meyer's The Host adaptation

  • The Beautiful Creatures film adds another all star to the list.The Borgias star Jeremy Irons (you may also know him as Scar from The Lion King) has been cast as the mysterious  Macon Ravenwood.

Book News

  • I remember having to leaf through an encyclopedia elementary and middle School, but kids these days will never know because Encylopeida Britanica has ended its' print edition.

Cover Reveals

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book Review: Shine by Lauren Myracle

“I'd heard a saying about meth, that it took you down one of three roads: jail, the psych ward, or death.”
― Lauren Myracle, Shine

Synopsis: When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice

Shine first came on my radar with the drama over The National Book Award debacle, where Lauren Myracle was accidentally nominated and asked to back out. The synopsis intrigued me, so I finally picked this book up.

Shine is the story of Cat, a teenaged girl on the journey for answers when her former best friend, Patrick is the victim of an extremely violent hate crime. Along the way  she learns the dark secrets and hidden realities of the town she lives in.

This books starts off brilliantly, there is a certain atmospheric writing style that Myrcale uses that just brings you in to the world of the story.  You very quickly learn the life that Cat leads.The setting, Black Creek, North Carolina is a back woods town with a  lot of backwards thinking. One of the biggest problems plaguing the town is meth.

There are a lot of rich characters in the novel and you start to feel for them. This reminds me very much of To Kill a Mockingbird, where the context of the story is so much involved in learning about the people in the town. The only thing is their  is no Atticus Finch in this story. None of the characters are paticularly redeeming or good, not even Cat herself. I think Robert,an eleven year old who was born addicted to drugs and yearns for attention from the older teenagers stood out the most for me.

This is a tough stuff novel, it deals with the less pleasent things in life and if that doesn't suit you this isn't the novel for you. One thing I did notice is despite it opening with a hate crime against a gay male this isn't a book focused on issues in the LBGT community. This book is more about social prejudices, meth and the downward spiral drug use goes.

For me the weakest point in this book is Jason, the love interest for Cat. He added absolutley nothing to the book and he didn't do anything. He only appears on about 10 pages or so, and the character felt like a waste and he just felt to "convenient".

I also wans't a big fan of the ending of this book. The decisions the characters made  just didn't sit well with me or come off as believable.

I can see why this book was nominated for an award and I defiantly think it has a lot of potential for teens to learn from it. I think Lauren Myrcale is an amazing writer and writes about a worth while topic, however overall I had some issues with the story.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Sense List Vol. 2

Welcome to The Sense List, a new feature on Books and Sensibility with a wrap up of YA news and events that we took notice of. This new feature is inspired by YA Highway's Field Trip Friday and Novel Thoughts This Week In YA

Books Turned Movies
  • Entertainment sites buzzed as Canadian Indie band , Arcade Fire's single Abraham's Daughter is announced as the Hunger Games anthem.

Book News

  • Book Reporter, owner of Teenreads and various book review sites launched this week. A mix of YA and Adult  fiction this site has features, reviews, and author interviews.

    Cover Reveals
    • Romeo Redeemed the sequel to Stacy Jay's Juliet Immortal now has a cover.
    • The 4th Beautiful Creatures novel, Beautiful Redemption cover was revealed this week.


    On Books and Sensibility

    Books and Sensibility is now ! Yay ! Giveaway to come soon . . .

    Our Reviews

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    Book Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

    "Am I a player in this scenario or a puppet ? I guess, in the end, it doesn't matter. It is what it is: my destiny."
    - Cynthia Hand, Unearthly

    So, seriously Harper Teen is the best ! I got this book for .99 on my Kindle over the holiday season. Before that, it wasn't even on my radar , it was just another pretty girl in a pretty dress cover.

    I'm not  a big fan of paranmormal romances. To me they all tend to be the same and have the similar kind of ugh-inducing female protagonist who doesn't exist outside of the new guy they met. And while Unearthly falls victim to some of the usual tropes in paranormal romance (new person in school, love interest is dating mean girl, single parent . . .) I took a liking to it.

    Unearthly is a slow paced, yet slightly witty story of Clara Gardner, a teenage angel who has just received her purpose--the major responsibility of angels. She and her family move to Wisconsin for her to put the pieces of her purpose together and of course she gets a few hitches and surprises along the way.

    I'll be honest, this novel isn't plot rich. I mean things happen, but the overall plot is more talked about and theorized more than we see things happen. There are some interesting ideas and concepts introduced, but there isn't enough follow through. The ending felt very rushed to me.

    I think Clara comes close to being an autonomous female protagonist. She is shown to have purposes and determination outside of the male characters in her life. This book also steers clear of insta-love. However, I think Clara is very much controlled by others and doesn't know how to be herself.

    The male characters were okay. I don't think we learn enough about Christian Prescott. We know what he does, but not  why he does them. I liked how Tucker Avery was developed throughout the series, he played the jerk in a believable and likable way.

     While this book isn't bad, it's nothing spectacular or new. I hope we get more in the sequel, Hallowed. I'm not anxiously awaiting it, but I will make time to read it this year.

    I'm really upset this show got passed over to have a pilot on the CW. I think it would have been an awesome addition. I think the first book alone has the flexibility to be made  into 22 episodes.


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