Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (23) and What Are You Reading?

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

For review:
Vixen by Jillian Larkin
Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings by Sophia Bennett

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
Entice by Carrie Jones
Awesome journal
Magic Steps (The Circle Opens, #1) by Tamora Pierce
The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy by Jack Dann


These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
Vixen by Jillian Larkin
Currently reading:

Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings by Sophia Bennett
The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money In Your Pocket and Other Simple, Brilliant Things by Neil Pasricha
What I plan to read:

Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Friday, January 28, 2011

Adaptation Corner: Fantastic Mr. Fox

I used to have an incredibly strict book before movie policy, but I’ve lightened up over the years. I think one of the reasons for this is because I hate to pass up the opportunity to watch a movie with family or friends when the opportunity arises. Once I saw previews for Fantastic Mr. Fox, I knew I had to see it right away.

If you aren’t sold on whether or not to see this movie, let me give you one reason that could persuade you: it’s directed by Wes Anderson. I for one have enjoyed Anderson’s other work, such as The Life Aqautic, so I knew it couldn’t be all bad. One of the first things you notice about this movie is that the animation is fantastic. It’s hard to judge acting in an animated film because the element of body language is no longer there, but the voice acting was all wonderful.

I will be straight with you: this is one case where I enjoyed the movie more than the book. In my review of the book, I said that it was great, but that I wasn’t a fan of how short it was. The movie provided a lot more character development of every character in the fox family and every other character. I wasn’t in love with the ending of the film, but it was charming.

I don’t think this story would stick with me as much if not for the presence of the book and the movie. This wonderful fox family will stick with me, and I think the film enriched my experience with them.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review of The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

The False Princess
Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.

A dazzling first novel, The False Princess is an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance.

I read parts of The False Princess with fear in my heart. During the first 100 pages, it felt like I had a problem with a lot of different aspects of this book. Thankfully, this debut quickly turned around turned out to be a great fantasy read.

I think this book could have easily used about another 50 pages. The novel kicks off with Sinda finding out that she is the false princess and her leaving the palace, and the political intrigue drew me in right away. The first 100 pages flew by, but to be honest, a slower pacing would have felt more natural to me. A lot of the plot points seemed rushed, and I could imagine O’Neal at her computer thinking, “Let’s get this over so I can get to the good stuff.” A good writer will give you the exposition you need, but a great writer will do so in an engaging and expertly plotted fashion. In this respect, I found that O’Neal was only a good writer. However, after those first 100 pages this problem seemed to dissipate.

I also found that O’Neal was only a good writer in terms of the romance. It was sweet, but some of the lines the characters spouted seemed over the top and cliched at times. I still enjoyed it overall, though, it just had its iffy moments. I felt the same way about Sinda and her narration. Sinda starts off as a stubborn character, which initially frustrated. By the end of the novel I liked her a bit better, but she won’t stand out as beloved female protagonist.

My favorite part of this novel? Most definitely the magic. I enjoyed O’Neal’s descriptions of it, the magic itself and the entire world that encompassed it all. Well played. I also really liked Keirnan, because he was witty and sweet. I would mention another character I loved, but we’d be approaching spoiler territory.

I wanted to fall in love with The False Princess, and that didn’t quite happen. However, I definitely had fun reading it and getting to know O’Neal’s quirky but lovable characters. Lovers of magic and fantasy should definitely get a hold of this book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours.

Monday, January 24, 2011

How Normal Is Paranormal?

I will be the first person to admit that I spend a bit too much time on Facebook. Mostly I just mindlessly scroll, toss out the occasional comment and hit the like button (often immediately after wondering, “WOW, did I REALLY just like that?!?!”). The other week I saw a status update from a guy my age agonizing about the fact that Barnes and Noble now has a “Teen Paranormal Romance” section. Within minutes, I was livid. How dare he degrade all YA paranormal novels! I bit my tongue at the time, because I didn’t want to cause a stink. Instead, I saved my rant for you guys.

Paranormal novels have been blowing up the world of YA literature ever since the release of a certain vampire book (hint: it starts with Twi and end with light). And is true that whenever I visit a bookstore, the paranormals take up their fair share of space. Some I’ve loved, such as Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, Need by Carrie Jones and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, while others I haven’t been so found of, like the Twilight saga or Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I think every genre of literature has books that fall on every end of the spectrum, from rocking my socks off awesome to so unenjoyable that I don’t know whether to laugh or throw the book at the wall. Each one deserves a chance, but it’s also really easy for the same thing to get old quickly. While discussing trends in YA literature on Twitter, Andye of Reading Teen said something very intelligent about the YA genre.
I agree about paranormal, they’re all the same and getting old. It's rare there's a really good one!
I totally agree with this statement. It seems like we see the same few creatures over and over and a lot of similar formulas, like the classic murderous boy and girl who knows this but is drawn to him nonetheless. I spread out my paranormal reads so I don’t get sick of the genre, but by now, I can totally see why some people might resent the genre or go cold turkey. However, I think paranormal has its merits, especially among readers who might not pick up other genres.

For some people, Twilight isn’t just a novel, but something that encouraged them to check out other books. I believe Alex of Electrifying Reviews has said that this was the case for him. While most people learn to read at an early age with the help of board books and picture books, not everyone picks reading up as a hobby immediately, but for some people this changes once they find the right book. Jackson Pearce recently made a video about the Boxcar children and how “huge series books” can sometimes serve as training wheels for other books.

I love this video because Jackson talks about how engaging Boxcar Children was for her. I think for some people paranormal novels can serve a similar function (although admittedly, the paranormal novels are likely more substantial). Paranormal genres probably work for a lot of teens because many of them have characters their age in a contemporary setting, but also throw in a little bit of escapism. Some of us may be sick of them, but for a lot of readers, finding one book they enjoy, whether it’s Twilight or Crime and Punishment or something else entirely can be a springboard, and could get them experimenting with other genres and titles, which is totally awesome. Of course, it’s possible that the exact opposite can happen, which is where things get ugly. I will say that at least in the case of Twilight, my experience is that friends of mine who didn’t like it were already avid readers anyways.

Sure, a lot of us will probably dropkick the next fallen age, vampire or werewolf that comes our way, because we want something a little different. We’d like our bad boys non-murderous please, we want something original. But before we pull out our awesome ninja moves, let’s not forget the impact that a book we might wave off as a trend could have a very different impact on another reader.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (22) and What Are You Reading?

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

For review:
Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Wee Free Men: The Beginning by Terry Pratchett
Falling In Love With English Boys by Melissa Jensen
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Blank Confession by Pete Hautman
The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
The Annotated Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Tour sites mentioned:
Star Book Tours
Bloggers and Blogs Mentioned:

Misty of Book Rat


Entangled by Cat Clarke (My review)
The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
Currently reading:
These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money In Your Pocket and Other Simple, Brilliant, Things by Neil Pasricha
What I plan to read:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Angelfire by C.A. Moulton
Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Black Swan Terrified Me Or Really, You Guys, I Swear This Is Relevant

Black Swan got out around 9:30. It’s 10:22 and after driving home and letting Macey outside, my hands are still shaking [I wrote this post on Thursday night, for the record]. This could be from the zero degree weather, but that’s not entirely it: Black Swan scared the crap out of me. Seriously.

For those unfamiliar with it, Black Swan is the story of a ballerina, Nina, who gets the lead of playing the role of Swan Queen in the ballet Swan Lake. When a new ballerina, Lily, shows up, she becomes paranoid that her role is at risk and pretty much goes psycho. Visit the amazon page and check out the editorial reviews for a more eloquent description. As Nina goes crazier, the intense personalities of these characters are amplified: the mother becomes more controlling, Lily grows more wild and Thomas more sexual. The movie is full of graphic content that is violent, sexual and overall disturbing. Have I mentioned that I was all by myself in the theater? I had to freak out all by myself. Throughout the entire film, I was convinced that some psycho ballerina would sprint in and gouge my eyes out in an unnaturally cruel and unusual fashion. I know watching stuff you know will be disturbing and experiencing absolute terror is an essential part of life, but this was almost a bit too graphic for me. The cinematography, costumes and make-up are all beautiful and the character dynamics are incredibly interesting. Black Swan is a fantastic and thought-provoking movie, looking back on it afterwards. However, I was honestly too horrified and disturbed to enjoy watching the film.

Sometimes I have similar experiences with literature. Let’s use The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway as an example, which I read as part of a class called The Jazz Age during my senior year of college. For those who haven’t read much literature of the era, let me let you in on a little secret: by and large, it’s pretty depressing. I really enjoyed discussing the literature in class, but let me tell you, reading that many sad books in a row got old kind of quickly. Eventually, each time I picked up a new novel for that class I would just think, “Oh great, another well-written yet sad story about male impotence, the effects of the war, and good things used to be. Let’s get this over with.” I will admit, there were sometimes undertones of hope and yes, I sound a bit closed-minded here. But still, I felt like a lack of hope and over-arching theme of “things are going downhill and they won’t get better” played a big role in these novels, and I understand that they are deep reflections on the era and I can appreciate that, but I am an optimist. I believe the best is yet to come and that the world is full of beauty and wonderful people. Sorry if it’s cheesy, but that’s how I feel. I I think if school had given me more time to read lighter books in between I might not have felt this way. Or maybe next time I pick up a Jazz Age era book I’ll still find that it’s still wonderfully written but just too sad for me to enjoy.

Even though I’m posting this on Saturday and still checking under my bed for psycho ballerinas before I drift off, some good has come out of me seeing Black Swan without another human presence to console me. I am finally able to explain how I sometimes feel about books and movies: even if it’s beautiful, if it makes me fear for my life or depresses me excessively, at the end of the day, I will probably not enjoy experiencing it. Instead, I’ll say, “Black Swan had intriguing cinematography and beautiful costumes. Unfortunately, it made me fear for my life, so no, I will not watch that movie with you.”

Friday, January 21, 2011

Review of Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

Fantastic Mr. Fox
In this book you will find: Boggis an enormously fat man, a chicken farmer and a mean man. Bunce, a pot bellied dwarf, a duck-and-goose farmer and a nasty man. Bean, a thin man, a turkey-and-apple farmer and a beastly man. Badger, the most respectable and well-behaved animal in the district. Rat, a rude creature and a drunkard, and also a Mrs. Fox and her four children.

I will read anything Roald Dahl writes. I’ve loved several of his novels, and would love to read them all. I picked up Fantastic Mr. Fox because I wanted a quick, light read. While that’s definitely what I got, I almost wish there had been more to it.

I had already seen the movie before reading this novel, so I knew the jist of the story. I’ve always found Dahl hilarious, so it was great to read his narration. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough of it. At only seventy pages, the plot moves along at a nice clip (although it lacks detail) and the characters aren’t very well developed.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a perfect book for a young reader just starting to pick up chapter books, and is worth the hour it’ll take you to read if you’re a diehard Dahl fan. This novel is cute and witty, like all Dahl books, but a bit too short for my taste. I may have actually preferred the movie, so keep an eye out for an Adaptation Corner post where I’ll discuss why I feel that way.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bookshelf Tour Part Two

Here is part two (the final part) of my bookshelf tour! If you want to know if I have or haven't read something (or need to yell at me to read something) just use the comments or check out my GoodReads (see left sidebar). Click here to check out part one. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Release date: February 8, 2011

Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

I don't remember where, but I recently saw a finished copy of this in someone's IMM vlog and it was completely gorgeous. Plus, this novel sounds sort of like it has similar elements to Julie Kagawa's The Iron King and The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, and I loved both of those books. I'm eager to see Mahoney's take on fey.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review of Entangled by Cat Clarke

The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with a table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got here.

As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?

Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?

A story of dark secrets, intense friendship and electrifying attraction.

When I saw the summary for Entangled, it looked it could go one of two ways: be a truly fantastic read, or just fall kind of flat. Entangled drew me in right away and kept me up late reading at night. Unfortunately, I think the only reason I read all the way to the end was because I wanted to know what happened, not because I cared about the characters.

This is the story of our narrator, 17-year-old girl named Grace who falls in love while everything else in her life seems to be falling apart and sadly, she was my least favorite aspect of this novel. The plot of this book has two parts initially: there are Grace’s reflections on the events of the past months, and the story of her time in the white room. I was able to guess what was going on in the former during the first 100 pages, but was unsatisfied how Clarke ended the latter part of the plot. I applaud Clarke for the unique premise behind the white room. However, I felt like stylistically, Clarke was trying to go outside the box. While her writing showed real potential to me, it and the bizarre premise tied together led to inadequate explanations.

Grace felt like a main character who was there to make a point about self-destructive behaviors, making it hard for her to like. She had few passions or interests of her own. One of my biggest problems with Grace was that it felt like she was constantly out drinking. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with drinking in young adult literature, but when a character does something over and over again I find myself getting frustrated with him or her. Grace would often say something that could have been insightful in another context and then just be like, “Whatever, I’m wasted,” which kind of ruined the moment and made it hard for me to take Grace’s narrative voice seriously. Have you ever been at a party and had a crush approach you, only to realize moments later that they are drunk as a skunk and not actually that into you? It was like one of those moments. As an aside, this book has tons of British slang, which I wouldn’t have understood if I hadn’t spent a year in England, so be aware of that should you decide to pick this one up.

Entangled is an interesting and engrossing read, but not necessarily an enjoyable read. Clarke is an intriguing writer, and I would happily pick up another novel by her. This particular story just wasn’t for me.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Prom and Prejudice Giveaway

As many of you know, Misty of Book Rat will be holding Jane In June again this year. Fellow lovers of YA, I want you to be prepared, so thanks to the wonderful people at Big Honcho Media I have to copies of Elizabeth Eulberg's latest novel, Prom and Prejudice, to give away. If you don't know much about the book, check out the book summary and trailer below.

Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn Academy on scholarship, isn't exactly interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be—especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London. Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance, but less than impressed by Will Darcy, a pompous jerk who looks down on the middle class. So imagine Lizzie's surprise when Will asks her to the prom! Will Lizzie's pride and Will's prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? From Elizabeth Eulberg comes a very funny, completely stylish prom season delight of Jane Austen proportions

Elizabeth Eulberg was born and raised in Wisconsin before making a career in the New York City book biz. She is also the author of The Lonely Hearts Club and lives outside of New York City. Learn more at

You can visit her facebook page here.

Want to win? Check out the rules and enter the form below.

*Two winners, each of whom will receive one copy of Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg.

*Open to U.S. reader only.

*The giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. CST on January 29th.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Political Correctness and Huck Finn: How Far Is Too Far?

Books get banned. It’s a fact of life, and it’s not a pleasant one, but it still happens. It’s not the hand of one person to say what an entire community should or should not have access to. Over the years, a lot of stories evolve. Stories that are told orally change, and new and updated versions of tales that we have deemed classics are produced. Some act as abridged versions of the novels, such as Great Illustrated Classics, whereas others are totally modern re-tellings, such as the film 10 Things I Hate About You which is based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

Unfortunately, this means that sometimes books are changed in ways that might be negative. One particular incident that comes to mind when I say this is the recent news of a new edition of The Adventures Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain which will be free of racial slurs. Click here to read more about it. Racial slurs are terrible, and they should be deleted because they are politically incorrect. Right? Personally, I don’t think so.

For those who don’t know much about the novel, it takes place in the Mississippi Valley in the early nineteenth century and was first published in 1884. Looking at this in historical context, it’s about twenty years after the Civil War, when African Americans were emancipated from slavery but racism was still going strong in many parts of the country, particularly the south. The main character, Huck Finn, finds himself floating on a raft down the Mississippi with a runaway slave named Jim. Suffice it to say, the political climate surrounding race back then was very different, and the book contains several uses of the phrases “the N word” and “Injun,” which most people today consider offensive. The n-word has been replaced by the word “slave” and “Injun” is being replaced by “Native American.”

Obviously, this language has gotten Huck Finn banned a number of times, and the censored version will probably make it’s way into more schools and libraries, as Jackson Pearce pointed out in a video she made on this very subject.

More people getting to read this book is a good thing, and sure, some people can probably work through Twain’s commentary on racism without the offensive language. Personally? Even though I know there are upsides, I’m against it, because I think the language seriously affects the impact that this book has on readers. Click here to see a comic that spoofs how a politically correct version of Huck Finn would read.

Society has a tendency to look back on times that were filled with issues such as racism, war and violence and talk about how we should never let history repeat itself. With this kind of talk, you’d think we’d want to make an effort to study history accurately, instead of sugarcoating it. I also think Pearce makes an excellent point abut how entitled we are to change Twain’s words, especially since he clearly has a reason for using them. I mentioned Great Illustrated Classics earlier, and now I'm kind of curious as to whether or not one was done of Huck Finn and how much the language has been modified. If there is a modified, kid friendly version, how is that different from what's happening here? I'm not sure, but I’ll be sticking with my uncensored version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, filled with racial slurs.

What are your thoughts on this literary scandal? Do you think it’s worth it to change a few words of a book so it’ll reach more people, even if that makes it less accurate and lessens the impact? Leave your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to know!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bookshelf Tour Part One

I've had a couple requests and intense desire to clean, so here is part one of my bookshelf tour. Part two will be coming whenever I decide to post it. If you have any questions about what I have or have not read, just look in the comments or check out my GoodReads (see left sidebar). I hope you guys enjoy it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Review of Slayed by Amanda Marrone

The Van Helsing family has been hunting vampires for over one hundred years, but sixteen-year-old Daphne wishes her parents would take up an occupation that doesn’t involve decapitating vamps for cash. All Daphne wants is to settle down in one place, attend an actual school, and finally find a BFF to go to the mall with. Instead, Daphne has resigned herself to a life of fast food, cheap motels and buying garlic in bulk.
But when the Van Helsings are called to a coastal town in Maine, Daphne’s world is turned upside down. Not only do the Van Helsings find themselves hunting a terrifying new kind of vampire (one without fangs but with a taste for kindergarten cuisine), Daphne meets her first potential BF! The hitch? Her new crush is none other than Tyler Harker, AKA, the son of the rival slayer family.
What's a teen vampire slayer to do?
I essentially picked up Slayed largely because it’s set in Maine, but also because I thought the fact that it’s about a vampire slayer interesting. It’s a short book and I started off thinking that it was a cheesy but fun paranormal novel. Unfortunately, by the end of the novel I was rolling my eyes at the extreme lack of development.

Daphne has a unique problem of not really having a true home because she’s constantly been on the move with her slayer parents, and she craves a normal teenage life. I thought that this was an interesting situation to have a teenage character in, however, it also seemed like one of her biggest passions was being a normal teenager. I can understand that feeling, but she was so self-centered in her focus on this one goal that her emotions never really felt genuine to me.

When you toss in a character who’s only somewhat likable with poor writing, things go from meh to worse. The main plot was okay, but nothing particularly special. The character relationships all moved too quickly to come across as realistic, and were often kind of cheesy for me. However, my least favorite part of Slayed was the romance Daphne and Tyler, because it felt terribly cliched and mushy. Note that I call a romance “mushy” when the characters have just met but are already proclaiming their undying love. A good romance keeps you rooting in the air and crying and fist pumping as you watch what happens throughout the characters, and that isn’t what this did for me.

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure who I would recommend Slayed to. A ten or twelve year old me would have been more forgiving of the cheesiness, but this book has a bit too much crass content for me to push it on a middle grade audience. Perhaps if you just can’t get enough vampires and want a light read this is the book for you, but otherwise I’d pass it by.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Star Book Tours.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My POC Reading Challenge

I am always trying to diversify what I read by checking out genres, topics and authors that are new to me. In the spirit of broadening my horizons, I'm joining the Persons of Color Reading Challenge, which "has been put in place to highlight and celebrate authors and characters of color." I also think that racism is still a problem in our world, so I hope to support people of color and become more informed by participating in this challenge. I'm aspiring to reach level three, which involves reading seven to nine POC books. With that in mind, here's a list of books I hope to read.

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Split by Swati Avashti
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
Ash by Malinda Lo
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Cubanita by Gaby Triana

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Review of The Lion and the Swastika by Anna Bruni Benson

The Lion and The Swastika
The Lion and the Swastika is a story of the brutalities of war brought home to a young girl by the fall of Mussolini in 1943 and the consequent Nazi occupation of the entire Veneto region. This is also a romantic story set against the backdrop of terrible war and of a beautiful ancient city – Venice, fascinating in all seasons, from the flowering of spring to the winter magic of snow and high tide. But it is also the story of the awakening of a young woman to the cruelty in the world and the necessity of taking radical action in defense of her ideals and the freedom of her beloved country. In Venice the emblem of the winged Lion of Saint Mark, for centuries the symbol of the glorious Venetian Republic, is still the symbol of the unyielding Venetian people. This story, based on my own experience, is one told here to inspire those who fight for love and freedom.

At one point or another, most of us have studied World War II and learned about the horrors of the Holocaust. A lot of novels and memoirs and focus on the Nazi persecution of Jewish people, particularly concentration camps and death camps. The Lion and the Swastika, on the other hand, centers around the Nazi occupation of the Veneto region of Italy and the direct effect this had on Venice and its people.

The story focuses on a young girl named Marina Lorenzi and her family. Benson really brought the struggles of the Lorenzi family to life, such as the struggle just to get salt. It made me think about all of the things in my life that I take for granted. Although there were some scenes describing the troubles, Benson also made me sympathize for the characters by talking about the strain which the war put on their relationships with one another. I particularly enjoyed reading about Marco, the love interest, because he was such a sweet guy.

I will admit that this story was a little challenging to get into, because the writing was somewhat disjointed and choppy, and making it hard for a narrative flow to emerge. As the characters became more developed, though, this problem did get somewhat better, and I was rooting for Marina and her love story. If you want to pick up a novel that will both shed light on the conditions in Italy during WWII and keep you emotionally involved, I highly suggest picking up The Lion and the Swastika.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publicist in exchange for a fair review. Thank you!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In My Mailbox (21) and What Are You Reading?

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

For review:
Entangled by Cat Clarke
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Brett Helquist
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
I Am Scout: The Biograpy of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Paper Towns by John Green
Matched by Ally Condie
Tour sites mentioned:
Star Book Tours
Bloggers and blogs mentioned:
Tara of Hobbitsies

Currently reading:

Entangled by Cat Clarke
The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins (As part of a read-a-long. Check out the left sidebar for details.)
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money In Your Pocket and Other Simple Brilliant, Things by Neil Pasricha
What I plan to read:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Angelfire by C.A. Moulton
Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2010 Challenge Summary

I know this is post is late, but I wanted to share it with you all anyways. In 2010 I set out to complete two challenges. I got all the way through one, and almost halfway through the other.

I completed the 2010 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren. To complete, the challenge, one had to complete 12 books. I was hoping to get as far as 20, but I did read 14. Here's what I did complete:
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Sea by Heidi R. Kling
Salvaged by Stefne Miller
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Matched by Ally Condie
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I also hoped to complete the 10 in '10 Chick Lit Challenge hosted by Jessica of Chick Lit Teens. The goal was to complete ten books, but I only got through four. Luckily, I really enjoyed the ones I made it through.
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Sea by Heidi R Kling
The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I'm excited for all of the challenges I'm taking on in 2011!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Review of Pegasus by Robin McKinley

A gorgeously written fantasy about the friendship between a princess and her Pegasus.

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pagasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own Pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.

But its different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close-so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo-and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.

New York Times bestselling Robin McKinley weaves an unforgettable tale of unbreakable friendship, mythical creatures and courtly drama destined to become a classic.

I cannot think of a single other YA book that deal strictly with pegasi, so I have to applaud McKinley for the original premise of this novel. McKinley seems to be a pretty well acclaimed YA fantasy author, and I’ve only read one of her other books, so when my favorite tour site listed Pegasus I jumped at the chance to read it.

The pacing of this story just felt off. McKinely devoted a lot of time to world building, and to an extent that was really interesting. However, this novel is 400 pages and I felt like the plot didn’t really take off until about the last 100 pages.

A few other glitches made this story tricky to focus on. For example, a lot of the names were ridiculously difficult to pronounce, and if I can’t say a name aloud I tend to get distracted from the story, which is probably a flaw of mine as reader. I also felt as though McKinley would provide description in anticipation of something happening but barely touch on the actual event, and this kind of detached me from the story as a reader. McKinley didn't show me what happened, she just told me.

I wanted to like Pegasus, but couldn’t quite get past McKinley’s writing. Her world building held some serious appeal, and I have Spindle’s End on my shelf anyway, so I’ll be sure to give her another shot.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
“I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.” So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Every year, I try and curl up with some kind of Christmas read in December. I picked Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares because I had heard great things about it and it sounded adorable. If next holiday season you found yourself trolling local bookstore in search of a cute, romantic story to get you into the spirit, I highly suggest picking this novel up.

The plot was definitely not what I expected and kept me on my toes all throughout the novel. Cohn and Levithan managed to come up with situations that were a brilliant mixture of bizarre, hilarious and cute. I will say that I thought the ending was perfect.

I wrote down thousands upon quotes in my quote book as I read this novel. With his love of books and words, Dash was a charming and endearing protagonist. Lily frustrated me at times, but I couldn’t help but love how into the holidays and dog-walking she was. What I loved both about these characters was the fact that they had insightful moments but were also still depicted as normal teenagers whose lives are full of awkward encounters and exasperating family members.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares was an adorable read, perfect for a December evening on the couch with a mug of cocoa and some sugar cookies. I will definitely re-read this book in future years, and I’m already looking forward to revisiting these memorable characters and my favorite passages. I highly recommend obtaining a copy of this book for your holiday shelves.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.

Liz (Consumed by Books)'s bookshelf: read

Dash & Lily's Book of DaresThe Way It IsShadow Days: A Nightshade NovellaCall Me Kate: Meeting the Molly MaguiresThe Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a FamilyCall Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires

More of Liz (Consumed by Books)'s books »

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Release date: July 12, 2011

Betrayal, loss, pain, fear. How many trials can love endure and still survive?

If you read Nightshade (which is kind of necessary if you intend to read Wolfsbane), then you are aware that Cremer ended the story on a total cliffhanger. I need to know what happens! I am hoping to get my hands on an ARC of this book. Plus, this cover is totally fierce, and you know that's a compliment from me because I rarely use that word.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2011...

Greetings, wonderful blog readers! I hope everyone's 2011 is off to a fantastic start. For the first time ever, I am participating in Top Ten Tuesday, to tell you about everything I hope to read this year. Some books have been lumped together for reasons explained down below, so I guess I kind of cheated, but hey, it's my list! Without further ado, here are the books I solemnly swear to read this year.

10.) The Vampire Academy series by Michelle Read

Okay, readers, if we all work together maybe we can try and lift up the rock that I am apparently living under and drag me out from underneath it! Maybe. I feel like I'm one of the only YA bloggers who hasn't read this series. I found the first one a year ago at Half Price Books, but when I heard that the last book would be coming out in December I decided to just hold off until then and surge through them. Now that I'm out of excuses, it's time for me to bite the bullet and dive into this series.

9.) Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
My mother gave me a copy of this book when I was about 8 years old, and somehow it just keeps falling by the wayside. I don't know why, because it looks quite interesting. I plan on doing the People of Color Reading Challenge this year (keep an eye out for a post about that), so perhaps I should count this novel towards that goal.

8.) As You Wish by Jackson Pearce and Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
I am a huge fan of Jackson's Youtube channel. Her videos always manage to teach something, or at the very least entertain. She's clearly very intelligent and witty, and both of these books are sitting on my shelf. So why haven't I read these two? I don't know, but I will tackle them before her third novel, Sweetly, comes out in August.
7.) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
I am concerned that admitting that I haven't read this book will bring April of Good Books and Good Wine, Misty of Book Rat and Allison of The Allure of Books to my doorstep with the intent of staring me down until I read it. I have heard that this book is amazingly fantastic and awesome, and I'd love to tackle it before it's sequel, Wise Man's Fear, releases this March.

6.) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

I read The Handmaid's Tale in high school and loved it. I want more Atwood in my life.
5.) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
I love Victorian literature, yet I haven't read this book. Something about that situation just says FACEPALM! to me. I look forward to tackling yet another Bronte.

4.) The Jane In June Books
I had so much fun during Jane In June last year (hosted by Misty of Book Rat), even if I didn't have as many Jane related posts as I would have liked. I'm trying to be much more organized going into it this year. I'm hoping to read Emma and Mansfield Park, but I'd also like to tackle three spin-offs: Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg, Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbardand Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland. I also won According to Jane by Marilyn Brant last year (I'm not sure if that quite counts as a spin-off) and hope to read it to. Plus, don't get me started on the giveaways and Adaptation Corners I'm dreaming of posting. *sighs contentedly*

3.) Looking for Alaska by John Green

My interest in John Green first piqued when I heard that he is a young adult author who attended my very own alma mater, Kenyon College. After that, I stumbled across the Vlog Brothers channel which he maintains with his brother Hank, which I watch regularly. The fact that I haven't read any of his books is just kind of a fail on my part, especially as I now own them all. I've decided to start with Looking for Alaska because I've heard lots of positive things about it.

2.) Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I am enchanted by this cover. If it were a guy...wait, let's not go there. It seems like there isn't much science fiction in young adult, so I can't wait to check this one out. Plus, I've heard one of Revis's tour stops in February will be near me, so I'll definitely have to devour this book as soon as it turns up on my doorstep. I keep checking Amazon to see if they've sent it early, but to little avail. I am an optimist. Or a fool. You pick.

1.) The Birthday Five

I'm starting a new tradition this year. Do you have books that have been sitting on your TBR pile forever or that are great classics that somehow missed you, where every time you look at them you think "How have I still not read this book?" After being shamed by a fellow English major for not reading certain titles, I decided to pick out five books that I will most definitely read before my birthday, which is on April 1st, come hell or high water. These are books that either I can't believe I missed as an English major or that someone whose tastes I trust unconditionally have said are fantastic. This year, the birthday five is comprised of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Possession by A.S. Byatt and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenger. There will be no cake, no presents, no celebrating until these books are read! Okay, that may not be the case, but I'll pull a late night if it means successfully meeting the deadline.

I'm feeling ambitious this year, and looking forward to checking out all of these titles this year. What do you resolve to read in 2011?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Author Interview: Jennifer Hubbard

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Jennifer Hubbard, author of The Secret Year, for an interview. The Secret Year is Jennifer's debut novel and was released in paperback on December 23rrd, 2010. Click here to read my review.

Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one—not even Julia's boyfriend— knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can't mourn Julia openly, and he's tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia's journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he's desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?

Your debut novel, The Secret Year, recently came out in paperback and got a cover makeover. What are your thoughts on each of the covers? What strengths do you think they each have?

I loved the first cover. The kiss captures the attraction between the main characters. The darkness of the cover, and the fact that you can’t see their full faces, brings the right air of mystery and secrecy. I’ve blessed Sam Kim, the designer, a million times for that cover.

I also love the fact that I get the chance to see another interpretation, with the paperback cover. This time we get to see Julia’s face, and I have to say her expression really fits the character. The light-colored background will be a nice relief from all the dark covers in YA.

Seeing the covers was one of my favorite parts of the publication experience. It’s just so exciting to get to see a visual depiction of your work—a depiction that will represent it in bookstores and all over the internet.

NOTE: The cover I've shown above is the hardcover, and the one below is the paperback.

We see some aspects of The Secret Year through Julia, the eyes of dead girl. What inspired you to write from this perspective?

That grew naturally from the story. The fact that Colt got hold of her notebook was part of my original idea for the story, so—we definitely had to find out what was in it! And as I wrote, I realized that it’s a fantasy many of us probably have: to be able to find out what was going on in a romance through your partner’s eyes, with all the insight and discomfort and regret and nostalgia that can bring.

Colt has to cope with his grief over Julia’s death throughout the novel, and while he isn’t perfect I enjoyed reading about him. Can you tell us more about how his character was born?

I had the idea for the story: a secret relationship, a dead girl, a notebook left behind—but I didn’t start writing until I had Colt’s voice in my head. He started speaking to me, and I listened.

One thing I’ve noticed about grief in real life is the incredible spectrum of experiences people have. Most of the time, people do go on about their daily lives, and the emotions of mourning often come in bursts or waves, some of them delayed quite a bit. Some of Colt’s actions come from his own personality, his strengths and flaws. But a few of them are also products of the grieving process. He gets blindsided by some emotions late in the book that he had thought were behind him; he didn’t expect he would have more layers of loss to cope with.

Are you working on any projects right now that you can talk about?

The book I’m working on right now is also contemporary YA, also with a male narrator. This character’s problems are very different from Colt’s. His family and his financial situation are much more stable than Colt’s, but his inner resources are much shakier. He’s trying to come back from the brink of something. I’m very interested in how people put their lives back together after they’ve gone deep into trouble.

What books have had the strongest effect on you as a person and as a writer?

Jack Kerouac’s writing has influenced me a lot—the rhythm of it, his skill at picking out the most telling specifics, the way he describes even the most miserable settings in loving detail. But really, everything I’ve ever read has probably influenced me in some way.

How do you spend your time when you aren’t writing? Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy? I see that you sometimes tweet about taking long walks.

Yes, hiking is one of my favorite activities, and I walk at least a mile every day. I love to read, of course. I go to gamelan concerts twice a year, and taiko concerts whenever I get the chance. Tennis is my favorite spectator sport, and I watch the Grand Slam tournaments. I also watch the Olympics whenever they’re on, and my husband has gotten me into watching the Tour de France. At various times in my life, I’ve played piano, done embroidery, played volleyball, and taken art classes.

You’re stranded on a desert island and you can choose five items to have with you. What do you select?

Well, let’s pretend I don’t have to worry about any of the practical items like medicine, a sunshade, and fish hooks, and something to catch rainwater, because it’s more fun this way. I’d say: some kind of solar-powered music device, something to write with, and something to read. (A solar-powered e-reader might come in handy here, if only it existed!)

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for hosting me!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Jennifer! If you haven't already, be sure to check out The Secret Year.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In My Mailbox (20) and What Are You Reading?

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

For review:
The Way It Is by Donalda Reid
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Slayed by Amanda Marrone
Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

Swag from Stephanie Kuehnert
Angelfire swag
GLEE season one on DVD
I Wish Someone Were Waiting For Me by Anna Gavalda
Lit Libs
The Original Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling
Castle season two on DVD
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf
The Importance of Being Earnest and Four Other Plays by Oscar Wilde
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
Harry Potter signature edition boxed set

Entwined by Heather Dixon (Review to come in late March)
StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce (My review)
Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray (My review)
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (My review)
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (My review)
The Way It Is by Donalda Reid (My review)
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (Reviews of this and the following four books will be up in the next few weeks.)
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Slayed by Amanda Marrone
The Lion and the Swastika by Anna Bruni Benson
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Currently reading:

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money In Your Pocket and Other Simple, Brilliant Things
by Neil Pasricha
What I plan to read:
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Angelfire by C.A. Moulton
Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 In Summary and New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year! I hope that you all are having a good time hanging out with your families or sleeping off crazy parties from last night. I'm ready to start a new year, and I'm hoping to improve a few things both blogwise and in my personal life.

I only have two resolutions blogwise, and they're fairly simply. One is to post regularly. December proved to be a busy month, and the blog was put on the back burner because of it. I was able to post sporadically, but not as much as I would have liked. I would like to be really good about scheduling a good amount of posts ahead of time, like I know blogger extraordinaire Nicole of WORD for Teens does. I'm starting off on the right foot in this respect, so hopefully I will keep it up. I'm hoping to pay a bit more attention to my new features, namely Adaptation Corner and Consume and Contemplate. My other resolution is to read the books I get for review from publishers in a more expedient manner.

Personally, my resolutions aren't terribly exciting. I am considering running in June, so getting in shape is a definite goal (I would officially start training in March). Another one? Read The Bible. I was raised as a Lutheran (ELCA) and unless you are currently living under a rock, you are probably aware that this book has ha kind of a massive impact on western civilization. So I figure I should probably read the whole thing. I might not get through the whole thing this year, but perhaps I can at least cover an entire testament. I also have my usual goal of being more organized, which I have every year. I get a tiny bit better all the time, but I still need a lot of work.

But before we move on entirely, let's look back lovingly at 2010. Here is a full list of the books i read in 2010. Just click on the book title to see my review. The beginning of the year is very heavy in classics, and that's because I was still in college as an English major (the shock of graduating might have worn off by now, but it's hard to tell). My goal was to read 75 books this year, and I just barely made it!

1.) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2.) American Pastoral by Philip Roth
3.) The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin
4.) Kim by Rudyard Kipling
5.) Shell Shaker by LeAnne Howe
6.) Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
7.) The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
8.) Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
9.) Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
10.) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
11.) Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
12.) A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
13.) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
14.) Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
15.) Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
16.) Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
17.) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
18.) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
19.) Dracula by Bram Stoker
20.) Brick Lane by Monica Ali
21.) Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
22.) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
23.) Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa
24.) Meanicures by Catherine Clark
25.) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
26.) Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
27.) The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley
28.) The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
29.) Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
30.) The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
31.) Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
32.) Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
33.) The Shadow Hunt by Katherine Langrish
34.) Grace by Elizabeth Scott
35.) The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
36.) Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
37.) Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
38.) Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
39.) Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
40.) Salvaged by Stefne Miller
41.) Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
42.) The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
43.) Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
44.) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
45.) Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
46.) Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
47.) The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees
48.) The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
49.) The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
50.) The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer (I won't be reviewing this title here.)
51.) Sea by Heidi R. Kling
52.) The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
53.) Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires by Molly Roe
54.) Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love edited by Trisha Telep
55.) Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
56.) Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
57.) Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
58.) Need by Carrie Jones
59.) Shadow Days: A Nightshade Novella by Andrea Cremer
60.) The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
61.) Blood and Flowers by Penny Blubaugh (Review to come in 2011.)
62.) Cloaked by Alex Flinn (Review to come in 2011.)
63.) Crossing Lines by Paul Volponi (Review to come in 2011.)
64.) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
65.) Entwined by Heather Dixon (Review to come in 2011.)
66.) StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
67.) Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
68.) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
69.) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
70.) The Way It Is by Donalda Reid
71.) Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (Review to come in 2011.)
72.) Pegasus by Robin McKinley
73.) Slayed by Amanda Marrone
74.) The Lion and the Swastika by Anna Bruni Benson
75.) Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

And of all of the books on this list, here are my very favorites, the ones that you need to go out and buy right now if you haven't already.


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