Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vacations from Hell

published: May 26th 2009
publisher: HarperTeen
format: Paperback
pages: 280
genre: fantasy

Vacations from Hell is an anthology written by five, well-known young adult authors. They include Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty) Cassandra Clare (City of Bones), Claudia Gray (Evernight), Maureen Johnson (13 Little Blue Envelopes), and Sarah Mlynowski (Bras & Broomsticks).

The following (partial) synopsis comes from

Life's a beach . . . and then you're undead?

in this must-have collection, five of today's hottest writers tell supernatural tales of vacations gone awry. Lost luggage is only mildly unpleasant compared to bunking with a witch who holds a grudge. And a sunburn might be embarrassing and painful, but it doesn't last as long as a curse. Of course, even in the most hellish of situations, love can thrive. . . .

From light and funny to dark and creepy, these stories have something for everyone. You definitely won't want to leave this collection at home!

My Thoughts:
The Cover:
I pretty much have the same thing to say about this cover as I did about Love is Hell, it goes very well with the previous Hell anthologies. (Prom Nights from Hell and Love is Hell) I like that they all have the sort of fiery smoke background with a single focal point. This one is a flower that reminds me of traveling, beaches, and summer. I really like this one and I can't wait to find out what will be on the cover of Kisses from Hell (due out in Fall 2010 and I know Alyson Noel has a story called Bring Me to Life (and I believe that Kristin Cast also has a story. I'm not 100% sure on that one though). Maybe it'll be a tube of lipstick? =P

The Book:
I love short stories (still) and I read these in two days. I had to stop because it was early in the morning and when I started the last one, I was still freaked out and that one sounded freaky. It reminded me of a movie that I'd rather NOT think about. Anyway, I will review each story separately.

Crusin' by Sarah Mlynowski
This story was a great opener to this anthology. It's about a girl and her friend (Kristin and Liz) on a cruise by themselves. One girl is trying to find a guy for her first time and they scope out guys and make a new friend (Hailey). What begins as a fun, boy-seeking cruise adventure, eventually turns hellish.
I really enjoyed this one. There were some twists and that's the best part. When something happens that the read wasn't entirely expecting, it makes the book that much better and Sarah did an excellent job on Cruisin'. I've never been on a cruise, but if it's anything like the Cruise to Nowhere that these girls are on (that's really what the cruise is called) then I don't want to go on one!

I Don't Like Your Girlfriend by Claudia Gray
This story is about a girl named Cecily who also happens to be a witch, as is her mother. Every summer her family goes to the beach and meet up with six other families with witches. Cecily's enemy is Kathleen and she's very mean. This summer she brings her boyfriend Scott who is gorgeous and perfect for Cecily. She is convinced Kathleen brought him to spite her and is out to expose her true nature.
I like this because it's different than other witch stories. In this world, men cannot know about the witches. I thought this was very cool and different. I also liked how it ended! But I won't talk about that.

The Law of Suspects by Maureen Johnson
In this story, sisters Charlie and Marylou go to France to stay with their cousin. They think they're going to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and be touristy, but he sends them to the countryside where he promises to follow. There they discover a hellish story and then begin to live a hellish nightmare.
This story was great! It was so original and I was left completely FREAKED out! I was seriously afraid to read the next one! This wasn't really what I was expecting and that's the beauty of it! I would love to know where a story like this came from.

The Mirror House by Cassandra Clare
This story is about Violet who goes to Jamaica with her mother and new step-brother and step-father. She and her step-brother share a secret that turns out to be beneficial. The cook at the villa warns Violet about the dangers of the beaches, but she doesn't believe her.
This story, also freaked me out! It was extremely cool though. I loved all the different elements of the people in the story and how they all work/fit together in some way. I thought it was well-written and it definitely kept my attention.

Nowhere is Safe by Libba Bray
In this story four friends, Poe, John, Baz, and Izzie go to a town that is said to have traded with the devil in order to prosper. This story was pretty freaky and I enjoyed it. I could totally see this being made into a movie or something. It was creepy and had all kinds of unnatural things going on. It was great. It was definitely well thought out.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Radiance Cover

Wow! More exciting news over on Tales From the OC (Really!) by author Alyson Noel.

The absolutely beautiful cover for her new series has been released to the public. Woo hoo! The new series is a spin-off of her bestselling series, The Immortals. This is about Ever's sister Riley and her life and adventures in the afterlife. The cover is totally gorgeous. You can read her post here and check out a summary on The Immortals Series official website here. Just click on "Radiance".

This cover very beautifully illustrates a scene in Evermore that we hear about and I'm so excited to be able to SEE it.

Radiance hits stores August 31st 2010!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dark Flame Cover

Okay, I am so excited! Alyson Noel, author of The Immortals Series, has posted a new blog post on her blog, Tales From the Real OC (Really!). This post is about her upcoming book Dark Flame, number four in the well-loved series.

The cover is gorgeous! It goes really well with the previous covers. I was especially curious to see the color. Evermore is purple, Blue Moon is blue (naturally!) and Shadowland is red.

I also wanted to see the main item featured. Evermore has two red tulips (I love tulips). Blue Moon has the orb. And Shadowland as the protective necklace of stones that the name of has slipped my mind!

I am so excited for this book. There is a link to the summary of the novel on her blog post here.

Dark Flame hits stores on July 6th 2010!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beautiful Creatures

author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
published: December 1st 2009
publisher: Little, Brown and Company
format: Hardcover
pages: 563
genre: fantasy

The following synopsis comes from the official Beautiful Creatures website

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

My Thoughts:
The Cover:

This is a beautiful cover. It is the first thing I noticed about the book and it grabbed my attention immediately. The text for the title is unlike any I've seen before. I love that the title is in a unique font as well as purple and shiny. The title is the focal point on the cover which is not usually the case. At least I don't think it is. The picture is trees. They are shiny silver, but not at all overpowering. The entire outside of the book is shiny. And I really like that. I think it's a good attention getter. I saw this cover and needed to know what the book was about, and with a name like Beautiful Creatures I was hooked.

The Book:
I was a little worried because the book is 563 pages. The last book I read that was that long was a Harry Potter book (and now Anna Karenina) and it was not the first in a series. I wasn't sure if it would drag on or if it would all be worth it. It was all worth it.

This is a unique world with great characters that I wanted to see succeed. Lena is an outsider and Ethan is not, but he doesn't really feel like he completely belongs. Ethan befriends her and together they go on an adventure where they learn about themselves and their past. It's an exciting story that takes the reader into a different world.

I was surprised that the book is told from Ethan's point of view. I was expecting it to be "the girl" mentioned on the inside flap, because many, if not all, of the fantasy/sci-fi romantic books I've read have been told from a female perspective. I found this to be refreshing. I really enjoyed reading from his side of everything.

I highly recommend Beautiful Creatures.

One more thing that I LOVED about this story is that on the website for the book you can download two songs (well, two versions of the same song-Sixteen Moons) that Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl wrote for the book. It is featured in the book and you can listen to it all the way at the bottom of the home page of the Beautiful Creatures website.

This is the trailer for the book:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WWW Wednesdays

This is a meme where the blogger (that's me) answers three questions. It is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.
  • What are you reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you'll read next?
So here we go!

I am currently reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy for my upcoming AP Lit class.

I recently finished reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. (Review coming soon!)

I am planning on reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest next (for my AP Lit class)
and I'm reading Bleeding Violet on the side. Sort of. It's next. I've started it, but didn't get very far before I realized I really need to read Anna K.

What about YOU? Answer the three questions in the comments!

2010 Debut Author Challenge!

The Story Siren

Kristi of The Story Siren is hosting a challenge. This is the 2010 Debut Author Challenge!

I'm participating in this for two reasons.
  • One: There are so many books I'm looking forward to this year and many of them are Debut Authors!
  • Two: I think it's important to support new authors. It's so exciting!
This challenge is to read at least 12 books from authors debuting in 2010. The Story Siren has links that could help you to compile a list at the link below.

And one of the best parts is that anyone can participate! You don't need to have a blog to do it. So if you're interested click here to read more about it and sign up!

There are a few important guidelines so be sure to read them all before signing up!

And so here is my list of the books [by debut authors] I'm planning/hoping to read in 2010. [This is neither complete nor set in stone. Some may be added and others taken away although I highly doubt I'll be removing any of these lovely books]

My 2010 Debut Author Challenge List
  1. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
  2. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
  3. All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
  4. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
  5. The Mark by Jen Nadol
  6. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
  7. Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
  8. A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
  9. The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
  10. Tagged by Mara Purnhagen
  11. Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
  12. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  13. The Line by Teri Hall
  14. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
  15. The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter
  16. Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
  17. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
  18. The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
  19. A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner
  20. Sea by Heidi R. Kling
  21. Other by Karen Kincy
  22. The DUFF by Kodi Keplinger
  23. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
  24. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
  25. The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
  26. Split by Swati Avasthi
  27. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
  28. Everlasting by Angie Frazier
  29. Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
  30. Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
  31. The Princess's Maid by Michaela MacColl
  32. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
  33. Palace Beautiful by Sarah Deford Williams
  34. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  35. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
  36. Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson

Beautiful Creatures Book Club Contest by Cast Girls (& Boys) is holding a contest! SO fun!

So what is this contest you ask? Well, if you didn't click the link I'll tell you!

You can enter by becoming a member, being a member, getting people to join Caster Girls, and/or by getting friends to join their facebook group (link in their post)

What do you win? 12 signed copies of Beautiful Creatures for your Book Club!

AND that's not all! Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (the authors) will have a 1-hour discussion with your book club through Skype!

Now that's a contest worth entering. [But before you do read their post please. There's even a special video introducing it by the authors!]

[I have read the book, but I have not gotten my review up. I know, I know, I'm slacking! It will be arriving shortly. The book is fantastic!]

Friday, January 8, 2010

Books of 2010! [That I am looking forward to reading]

I know I am SO late in posting this, but I just kept putting it off. I do not know why. So here is my list of books of 2010 that I am looking forward to having in my hands. 2010 is going to be a great year for YA readers.

Not all of the dates have been revealed and it's possible some will change or are just incorrect. I will update it as new books I'm looking forward to come to my attention and as the dates change or are released. It's very possible I have failed to list some that I wanted to and I KNOW there are some that I don't know about so they are, therefore, not on my list! Please let me know of any books of 2010 that I don't have so I can add them.

They're divided into three different types. New authors, stand alone books, and sequels.

Debut Novels
5th-Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
7th-The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
12th-All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
12th-Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
19th-The Mark by Jen Nadol
1st-The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (#1 in the Iron Fey series)
2nd-Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
4th-A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
4th-The Naughty List by Suzanne Young (#1 in The Naughty List series)
1st-Tagged by Mara Purnhagen
2nd-Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
2nd-Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (#1 in the Hex Hall series)
4th-The Line by Teri Hall (#1 in a series)
9th-Split by Swati Avasthi
16th-The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
23rd-The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter
23rd-Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
1st-Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
13th-The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
15th-Palace Beautiful by Sarah Deford Williams
27th-Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
28th-Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
10th-A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner
10th-Sea by Heidi R. Kling
------Other by Karen Kincy (#1 in a series)
31st-Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
16th-The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
21st-Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
14th-Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
------The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
------The DUFF by Kodi Keplinger
------Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

5th-Captivate by Carrie Jones (#2 in the Need series)
5th-Thirst No. 2 by Christopher Pike (2nd & final omnibus of his 6 book series The Last Vampire)
2nd-The Long Way Home by Andrew Klavan (#2 The Homelanders series) (I have not yet read the first however)
15th-Fang by James Patterson (#6 in the Maximum Ride series)
13th-Kiss in the Dark by Lauren Henderson (#3 in the Scarlett Wakefield series)
14th-Wayfarer by R.J. Anderson (#2 in the Faery Rebels series)
4th-Spells by Aprilynne Pike (#2 in the Wings series)
4th-Lies by Michael Grant (#3 in the Gone series)
18th-The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan (#2 in The Demon's Lexicon series)
25th-Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev (#2 in the Theatre Illuminata series)
10th-So Many Boys by Suzanne Young (#2 in The Naughty List series debuting in Feb. 2010)
6th-Dark Flame by Alyson Noel (#4 in The Immortals series)
20th-Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (#2 in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series)
24th-Untitled Hunger Games Book #3 by Suzanne Collins
------The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (#2 in the Iron Fey series debuting Feb. 2010)
------Torment by Lauren Kate (#2 in the Fallen series)
------The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (#2 in the Maze Runner series)
------A Good Boy is Hard to Find by Suzanne Young (#3 in the Naughty List series)

Stand Alone Novels/Beginnings of New Series
1st-Tangled by Carolyn Mackler
5th-Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
5th-Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook
12th-Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn
4th-The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne
9th-The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
1st-Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw
4th-The White Cat by Holly Black (#1 in The Curse Workers series)
13th-My Double Life by Janette Rallison
18th-Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti
20th-One Night that Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt
20th-Watch Me by Lauren Barnholdt [EDIT: This is the paperback version of what was formerly known as Reality Chick which I really enjoyed!]
(I am aware that something doesn't seem right about the above two, but that's what I found!)
3rd-The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway
10th-Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt
4th-Radiance by Alyson Noel

Unknown Dates/Rumored
Summer-Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (#3 of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series)
Fall-The DUFF by Kodi Keplinger
------Deadly Little Game by Laurie Faria Stolarz (#3 in Touch series)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Love Is Hell

published: November 25th 2008
publisher: HarperTeen
format: Paperback
pages: 272
genre: fantasy

Love is Hell is an anthology written by five, well-known young adult authors. They include Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely), Scott Westerfeld (Uglies), Justine Larbalestier (Liar), Gabrielle Zevin (I Was A Teenage Amnesiac) and Laurie Faria Stolarz (Deadly Little Secret).

The following (partial) synopsis comes from

Sure, love is hell. But it,s totally worth it.

From two students who let the power of attraction guide them to break the hard-and-fast rules of their world to the girl who falls hard for a good-looking ghost with a score to settle, the clever, quirky characters in this exciting collection will break your heart, then leave you believing in love more than ever.

The following synopses come from me.

Sleeping with the Spirit by Laurie Faria Stolarz
This one is about a girl named Brenda who is having realistic nightmares about a boy who she soon finds out is actually the boy who lived in her house and was murdered in it 20 years before. He's been watching her and needs her help with something. Turns out, he's really there in ghost form, but he can only be seen by her in her dreams. They go on a little journey to allow him to move on, but their relationship develops in unexpected ways.

Stupid Perfect World by Scott Westerfeld
This story is a futuristic fantasy that explores the possibility of no health issues, transporters so no one needs to go outside, no raging, teenage hormones. They do however have a class called Scarcity were they learn about the old days when people got colds and had to deal with an annoying little activity known as sleep. The class has a project where they choose something from those days to live and Kieran and Maria choose projects that unexpectedly intertwine where they learn about themselves as well.

Thinner Than Water by Justine Larbalestier
This short story takes place in a town where the villagers live, for the most part, without technology and no one really leaves the town. They have 'trial' marriages beginning at the age of sixteen. Jeannie and Robbie have a 'trial' marriage and everyone is against it saying he's an outsider because he wasn't born there, they believe he's different. That he's a faerie.

Fan Fictions by Gabrielle Zevin
This is a different sort of vampire love story about a girl named Paige and a boy named Aaron. There isn't really much else to say. You'd have to read it.

Love Struck by Melissa Marr
This story is about Selkies. What are Selkies? They're seals that can shed their 'Other-Skin' and look like very beautiful humans. What happens to their 'Other-Skin'? Well, if a human happens upon the skin of the opposite sex they become mates.

My Thoughts:
The Cover:

I think this cover is appropriate for the book. It's fiery and pink! The fire part is very muchshowing the 'hell' part and the pink all for the love. And I really like the heart locket in the center of the cover. It gives us a focal point and it catches my eye. It very much 'goes' with its predecessor Prom Nights From Hell (2007) [right] which includes the authors Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries), Kim Harrison (Once Dead, Twice Shy), Michele Jaffe (Bad Kitty), Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), and Lauren Myracle (TTYL). It has the same concept, but the 'theme' is prom, obviously.

The Book:
I really like short stories and this book has five! So, because there are five different stories, I'll discuss each one briefly.

Sleeping with the Spirit I enjoyed this story because I have not read very many love stories where one of the lovers is actually a ghost. It was original and lovely.

Stupid Perfect World This story was completely original. It was not what I would have expected in this book, but it was what I would think of as a Scott Westerfeld story. It was futuristic and strange, but relatable as well.

Thinner than Water At first, I wasn't completely sold. I didn't know what to expect, but I quickly became attached to the character of Jeannie and wanted her to be happy and get it right. It was a bit of a heart-wrenching story.

Fan Fictions This story may look like a typical, predictable vampire story that you've seen a thousand of, but it's not. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and really empathize with Paige and her experiences with her friends and Aaron.

Love Struck I am a huge mermaid fan and while I know that Selkies are not mermaids, they are similar. This starts out as a creepy feeling story and quickly turns into what the anthology is all about, Love being Hell.

Vacations from Hell (2009) includes the authors Libba Bray (Going Bovine), Cassandra Clare (City of Bones), Claudia Gray (Evernight), Maureen Johnson (13 Little Blue Envelopes), and Sarah Mlynowski (Bras & Broomsticks)
I will be reading it and posting a review in the near future.
I just don't know exactly when. So stay tuned...